Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Wrap-Up 2013

Our Christmas trees are still lit, I'm still listening to the Christmas music and, because I'm still trying to savor the season, let's re-cap how our family Christmas 2013 played out.

We've already discussed the plan for the day and how I spent days prepping (cleaning, decorating, wrapping up small projects and shopping).  Well, Christmas Eve was here and I was about as ready as I would get.  The trees were up, the garland was hung, the presents were almost all wrapped and we were headed to the Christmas service at church.

Our family was requested to read at the Christmas Eve service and, get this, Munchface read the last paragraph.  She did an awesome job :)  After our great time with church family, we picked up a pizza and headed home to receive our guests.

Pizza, wine, hugs and kisses…  The noise of family filled our home.  While my parents unloaded, Hubbs, Munch and I baked our cookies for Santa.

Ninja cookies, of course.



We ate, baked, joked then got ready for bed.  Hubbs set-up the cookies and tucked Munch into bed.

  Once she was all tucked in, Hubbs came downstairs and ran, as fast as he could, around the family room.   Everyone watched at a total loss for what he was doing.  He suddenly stopped and asked,


"Is my cape blowing?!"

UH, no.

He wanted to play games but Santa's elves had wrapping to do so we passed on the fun and, instead, sipped wine and wrapped gifts.

FINALLY, everything was done.


I went to bed very early Christmas morning.  I slept maybe 3 hours before I felt Hubbs tossing and turning.  He flopped around so much I was just about to slap him when he jumped up and announced that he couldn't do it anymore; it was time to start the day.  He went in Munch's room and she had been up for over an hour but, being a good girl, she just laid in bed watching Disney with her Grandma Judy - love her :)

We unwrapped gifts and I snuck away to start breakfast.  The food was delayed by an hour but it worked out well because we continued unwrapping gifts.

Also, while the food was cooking, Dad and Hubbs left for Fedex to pick-up my parents' gifts for Munch.  They bought her a new American Girl doll and lots of accessories.  Can you imagine Hubbs walking in the facility with his Super Man pjs to save the day?

You can't?  Well, here you go:


Yep.  Super Man.  Picking up a package.  In his jammies.

Shortly after they returned, we were ready to eat.


I glued 3 mini candy canes together to create mini stands for the food buffet labels.

Breakfast Casserole in ramekins.

The sausage balls with honey mustard sauce - yum!


Shrimp-n-grits (well, rice… because I bought oats instead of grits), donuts, bacon, sausage, eggs, mimosa mix in's, coffee and more.

Darren's plate.

After breakfast, Mom announced that she wanted to play some games.


She pulled a stack of puzzles out then announced that we would compete for a total of $450!!!

Round One - Couples

Mike and Ryan against Hubbs and I.  Mom handed each couple a 50-piece puzzle and announced the first team to complete the puzzle would win $100.

WE WON!

Round Two - The Ladies

We each received a 25-piece puzzle and competed for another $100.

I WON!

Round Three - The Fellas

The guys competed for $100.

MIKE WON.

Round Four - Couples

Each couple received a 60-piece puzzle map of the United States.  The first to complete their puzzle would win $150.

WE WON!

That's a total of $350 for us :)

After the final round, mom announced the annual family Phase10 competition would be later that evening.  We all took a break.  Nibbling on more food…

Napping…



Video Gaming…


Crafting...

Yes, crafting.  Don't act surprised.  It was hosted at my house.  We crafted.

I set-up a mug decorating station on the kitchen table.  I laid out kraft paper and used Sharpies to write instructions on the kraft paper.

1.  Choose your mug!

2.  Decorate your mug!



The kraft paper was a great "practice area" for mug designs.


Munch's mug turned out really nice!  Pop-Pop told her how to draw her tree and it turned out awesome!


While I was documenting the crafting, I noticed my branch arrangement on the drink station:


From Michael's, it has artificial water droplets and I LOVE them :)


Anyhoo, back to the crafting...

3. Bake on 300 degrees for 20 minutes to set your designs.

I placed each mug in a baggie with mini candy canes and hot chocolate.  Each guest left with their mug as a token of the day :)


We wrapped the night playing Phase10, watching movies and loving on one another.  It was truly a great day and this has been a wonderful holiday season for our family.

I pray you have taken time to enjoy the cheer this season brings!

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Christmas In Real Life - Our Place

OMG! Islanders, Christmas is fading as we approach 2014 and I'm just sick about it.

I shared our outdoor decor here and today, I'm going to wrap-up with our indoor decor.

We spoke about the mom tree, the family tree and the foyer garland.  In these posts, I also shared how I faced a new challenge in the new place.  In our old home, I could unpack and decorate for Christmas with my eyes closed.  In the new place, however,  I needed to figure things out - where? How? More? Less? I just didn't know so this year, decorating took a lot more time than I anticipated.

Dining Room Decor

I started my decorating in the dining room.  With us hosting Christmas, I knew I wanted people to eat around the dining room table.   I created 2 low centerpieces:


The snow-capped succulent was a splurge from Michael's.  I ALSO splurged on a small garland that had sparkly fruit.  I cut it into pieces and used the pieces as filler.


A few pieces of winter greenery and voila:




Between the two vases, I collected trees (brush trees, decorative trees, thrifty trees, etc.):


Yes, Sherry made me some of her awesome paper rosette trees (mentioned in her tree's feature post here).  Thanks, boo!

I placed the napkins and chargers out to see how it looked.  I pulled out the white china day-of.  It turned out really nice!

A picture from Christmas day.

I added a candle at night and I love how it looks:


Kitchen Decor
I kept the kitchen decor pretty simple - Christmas towels and spoon rest.  The table was set with rustic place settings and a quick centerpiece:



Our yarn wreaths were hung on the kitchen chairs and they are aging so gracefully (3 years and counting):


Family Room Decor

I unpacked our stockings, my Village Thrift Store garland (it only cost $2.90) then I added burlap and poinsettias to complete the look:


I've found the best time to buy poinsettias is a few days before Christmas (Lowe's and Home Depot mark them down before the holiday).  I got these large poinsettias for less than $5 four days before Christmas.  It was perfect because they looked awesome on Christmas and I wasn't worried that I'd kill them before the holiday, lol.



I still love our Christmas stockings (purchased from Walmart.com three years ago).  I also love the contrasting burlap.  The wooden trees anchor the mantle because the burlap wreath I made to hang above the fireplace didn't work out (the COMMAND strips didn't hold up well on the brick).  Instead, I propped it up on the wet bar:


It's not quite done but I will definitely finish it… before Christmas next year, lol.


Munch and I piled ornaments into the coffee table centerpiece and filled the J-O-Y dishes with candies.  Speaking of ornaments, I added a few to the family tree right before Christmas:

Munch made it in art class and I love it :)

It's a 6" starburst ornament (from The Village thrift store).  It came 2/pack and they're awesome!

Giant snowflake ornaments I got from The Village thrift store.

Feather ornament (from Target).

Glitter reindeer ornaments from The Village thrift store.

O and, in case you're wondering,  here's the family ornament for 2013:


A KEY!

It says, "New Home" at the top and 2013 on the bottom.  I love it. More importantly, I loved our first Christmas in our home this holiday season!!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Brunch - The Plan.

I mentioned we're hosting Christmas breakfast this year.  No, my family doesn't usually have a "breakfast."  No, I didn't plan to host Christmas anything.  Yes, I set impossible deadlines.  No, we won't have them all done.  Yes, it will all work out just fine.
 
There's the summary for how I'm sure this will all play out, lol.
 
We had our annual family Christmas discussion at my parents' post-Thanksgiving fish fry - who's hosting, who's cooking, who's coming, etc.  My parents announced they would be at our house (as is typical) to watch Munchface open her gifts Christmas morning.  Hubbs, who becomes Santa over the holidays, invited them to stay Christmas Eve.  IDK how but the next thing I knew, we were hosting a Christmas breakfast...
 
"It works better with Mike's schedule" - Ryan, my sis-in-law
 
"I might have to work that afternoon so, yea... I'm down." - Li'l Dave, my baby bro
 
"We'll be there anyway..." - Dad
 
Now, as if planning for my mother-in-law wasn't enough, I have breakfast prep and baking and wrapping and cleaning and - OMG! Did this just turn into a whole big ol' full-fledged event.
 
Well, no reason not to treat it as such.
 
I set to planning, came up with a theme (it just feels more festive when there's a theme, right?!) and sent out an invitation:
 
 
There it is.  The invite.
 
PAJAMAS & PANCAKES
 
Menu
 
We'll enjoy individual servings of the following:
 
Shrimp & grits (a cheddar cheese grits casserole)
Sausage balls with honey mustard dipping sauce
Breakfast casserole
Fruit kabobs with a homemade fruit dip
Sausage links
Eggs
Baked goods (breads, muffins, etc.)
 
Spiked Egg Nog
Mimosa mixin's
Coffee
Hot Chocolate
 
Activities
 
Mug Decorating
Mom's Annual Christmas Giveaway
Phase10
Games (Taboo? Spades?)
 
Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I realized we will have the in-laws still at the house AFTER breakfast... What will they do for Christmas dinner?  OMG! What will they eat?  Where will they eat?  Never mind them! What about us?!
 
After a few phone calls, Hubbs decided we'll host Christmas dinner too but, luckily, he and mom decided to keep it low key.  No reason to slave in the kitchen for hours on food [we feel like] we just ate for Thanksgiving.  My mom came up with the idea to have a Spaghetti dinner!
 
Fresh rolls, garlic bread, pasta, yummy salads, wines, desserts... YUM!
 
Low stress, lots of fun and FAMILY?!
 
What else could a stressed event-crazed host ask for?
 
I can't wait to share the party with you!
 
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas In Real Life Vol. II

I love my parents' home but I especially love it during the holidays. I've shared pictures of their home in the past, remember?
 
 
 
 
Since these photos, mom has changed her living room décor and, as a result, she's updated her Christmas décor also.
 
 
My mom has 20 years worth of décor.  She probably could've made something she already had work but she decided it was time for an update.  She went to Big Lots and KMart and found some unexpected glitz and glam.  Let's take a closer look shall we?
 
 
I love how she Christmas-ified (it's a word effective today) her existing décor simply by tying coordinating ribbon around it.  Such a great idea to minimize the holiday pack-up after the holidays, right?
 
 
Mom splurged on beautiful ornaments that made a statement.
  
 
I just love these 3-dimensional reindeer... They remind me of the expensive Pottery Barn ornaments:
 
 
 
She topped the tree with a sparkling purple snowflake:
 
 
Then swirled purple and silver ribbon around her tree as garland:
 
 
Rather than have her nativity set placed on the coffee table, she moved it up high on a stack of large vintage baskets.
 
 
The baskets are black and stand more than 4 feet high!  O and the best part?  They serve as her storage containers for her Christmas décor.  How awesome is that?  Her décor is easily accessible and packed away in beautiful baskets!  What I wouldn't do to NOT have to worry about the basement spiders attacking me when I pulled out my décor...
 
Opposite the baskets, she hung a horizontal mirror behind her sofa and draped garland (with ribbon and lights) on the back of her sofa.
 
 
I love it.  The mirror reflects the lights beautifully AND makes the room appear larger.
 
 
On her front door, Mom rubs her thrifty awesomeness in my face, lol.  While I was shopping in another area, Mom headed over to the garland and greenery section of the Village Thrift Store.  She found a fabulous snowy wreath and added her ribbon to set the tone for her color scheme from the outside of her home in:
  
 
She paid next-to-nothing for the wreath and I LOVE IT.
 
 
Of course, there's her jewel-toned tree (with HUGE bulbs and colored lights) on the lower level and mini trees with lights throughout the house.  As if their home wasn't welcoming before, my parents' home is even more awesome during Christmas!
 
Remember, the purpose of this mini series is to share the awesome décor of those around me and to inspire others to embrace the awesomeness of their home during the holidays.  I stole these photos of my parents' home BUT if you would like to share your holiday home, feel free to leave a comment and I'll send you the information :)
 
I hope your weekend is fabulous!
 
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Minnie Mouse First Birthday Party

Islanders, the day had finally come to celebrate my sweet god baby turning one.  Hosted from Melina's parents' home, the party was b...

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