Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Rewind

I wanted to share how our new Christmas activities that will become traditions went.  Our advent tree was wonderful.  Everyone so enjoyed talking and sharing abut how awesome Jesus is - what an indescribable gift!!

Also, this year we decided to give back to Him for the first time.  A couple of weeks before Christmas we told the kiddos about our idea to give back by shopping a few catalogs.  Again, inspiration from A Holy Experience.  From her list of catalogs we chose three.  We allowed the kids time to peruse and explained that they would be using some of their own money for these purchases - we wanted them to sacrifice as God had by giving His only son.  Then on Christmas day we all sat down to make our purchases.  My husband and I went first to set the tone.  Then they all took turns picking and placing their orders and paying me their cash.  Let me just say I was shook to the core by their generosity.  Sure, they had raked in the cash for Christmas but still they had already begun to make plans for that cash and now they were giving it away.  It blessed my heart.  I read so many stories of families giving back at Christmas over the years, and to be honest, I made excuse after excuse as to why we couldn't do that.  Now, I will never miss it.  Looking forward to finding other ways we can teach our children how to look outside themselves. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gifts List Challenge

I finally finished reading Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts".  Wow.  If you haven't read it - read it.  If you want to be inspired on a regular basis check out Ann's blog here.  I love the way she writes, and her book spoke directly to my heart.  At times (many times), I felt God was speaking to me through her.  Thank you Ann for being God's vessel.  I shared with you here how thanksgiving changes your attitude.  I so need a change of attitude.  So, I am taking Ann's challenge on for myself.  To journal my very own gifts list.  I would love for you to join me!!  It's not difficult, not time consuming or expensive.  You can use any form of journal you would like.  I received a really cute - purple my favorite color - note pad from my mom for Christmas and as soon as I pulled it out of the bag I knew what I was going to use it for.  It wasn't until last night when I pulled it out to make my first entry that I noticed what was printed on the front on the pad and on the pen....why was I surprised, this is God we're talking about.  Thank you Father for your never-ending love for me. 

Will you join me in counting your blessings - rejoicing in all things because friends, God is in all things.  Here's to an amazing 2013!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

December in Review {Insta-Style}

I wanted to take a moment and blog about the behind the scenes happenings in my family this month.  December always zips along at a fast and furious pace, but it is always filled with family fun.  So, this is going to be a snapshot of December Insta-style.  :)

Starting with a Christmas children's choir concert at church.
Followed by a school orchestra Christmas concert - yes that is my daughter behind the music stand.  No matter where I sat I could not see anything but the music stand...
My girl went to her first high school dance...what??
Dinner date with this dude - yes he asked for teeth for Christmas - still haven't came.
Anniversary celebrations - 20th engagement anniversary :)
Christmas movie watching - lots of this - Charlie Brown is my favorite.
Candlelight Christmas Eve service - love.
Christmas light looking in our Christmas PJ's - yeah that's how we roll.
Snow?  Yes snow, on Christmas day - not quite the 6-8 inches they were predicting but hey, snow is snow.  (The weathermen here get really excited when predicting snow, it's like a contest.)

Happy Birthday Jesus pancakes and...
Happy Birthday Jesus cake - decorated by my daughter the up and coming cake decorator.
Hope your December was filled with lots of warm family memories.  I am working on a list of home goals for 2013.  It's really long right now so I need to pare down.  My chunking stuff I don't need, more organizing, more making my home function for my family.
Blessings to you and yours!! 
 life rearranged

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Jesus!!

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the Roman empire the inhabited earth.  This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is MessiahChrist the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men of good willwith whom He is pleased."
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Luke 2:1-20
Happy Birthday Jesus!!  Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Home Tour 2012

Praying for continued peace and comfort for the families in CT.  Still, no words.  Still trying to process.  Just trying to stop the clock and hold onto the moments that are given each day.
Today I am sharing the touches of Christmas around my home this year.
You may have already seen my mantle here.

And you may have seen my nativities here.

And my tree here.

Learn more about this beauty here, and here is what it looks like now - 16 days in.
Here are some other touches of Christmas decor from around the house.

My husband commented that it was the "year of the ribbon".  I bought this ribbon last year after Christmas and I love it, and I did put it everywhere :)

I couldn't leave without showing you two of my kids trees.  The little sad tree on the left belongs to my 17yr old.  That's about as Christmasy as he was getting this year :)
The one on the right is my daughters.  She loves decorating just as much as I do :)

I want to leave you with this picture.  I've said it before but I'm saying it again.  This is the reason we celebrate CHRISTmas, because Christ is born.  This is what I have hanging on my front door.  Simple with a little sparkle that lets everyone know what's going on inside our home.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
Linking up to these fun parties, check them out for beautiful Christmas decor.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lightening Up - Door Treatment {Part 2 - DIY}

Okay I am back with the promised how to for my doors.  Really so much easier than even I thought it would be.  I'm going to use lots of pictures because I am a visual person. :)

First step is picking out what you want the door to look like.  Like I said, I went to Home Depot to look at doors and of course checked out the internet.  And decided on a basic style that seemed easy to duplicate and would be cost effective since I plan to eventually continue this treatment on other doors. 

After you determine what you want it to look like you then need to measure.  Decide how far you want the molding from the sides, top, etc., making sure you take into account the hardware.  Then it's time for the fun part - cutting.  All you need is a basic miter saw and miter box, and a tape measure.

Because I haven't done much mitering I literally cut one piece, taped it to the door, and then cut another piece, all the while checking multiple times that I had the direction of the angle correct.  I only messed up once. :)
Very important - when you measure - measure from the outside tip of the miter, and mark on the side closest to where you are going to cut.  Marking all the way across will just confuse you, trust me.
Next place your mark in the middle of the groove on the miter box.  You will be using the groove to cut a 45' angle - the type used in framing.
Place the saw in the groove and cut.

Placing the first piece is the trickiest.  I made pencil marks on the door top and bottom and side.  I did a complete dry run to make sure I liked it so I simply eyeballed level at this point and tape the piece up with painters tape.  Then I cut the next piece.  As I said, checking and double checking that I got the angle right.  They will all be 45' but the trick is getting the angle in the right direction.

Match up the corners and ta-da!!  If you are using the hand miter saw and miter box, your corners will probably not match up perfectly, but they make this wonderful stuff called caulk that covers a magnitude of sins - just make sure you buy the kind you can paint over. (You might notice my little oops in the above picture - if you look closely you can see that I cut one piece, actually several pieces, backward.  I didn't notice of course until I was done, and on this tiny molding it really didn't matter.  Once I painted it you couldn't tell, but on the bigger molding I used for the front door it did matter.  Just something to keep in mind when you are cutting.)

Then, several days later, it was time to glue.  I have used liquid nails before on my bead board paneling in our entryway project, so I had some left-over.  But, I had no idea how I was going to manage that caulk-gun, and the molding with my two little hands so I found this small tube and it was perfect. (I am not advertising for liquid nails, I just know it works.)
I just ran a bead of glue along the middle of each piece, making sure to get it on the tips.
Then, place the piece in position on the door, and use a level to make sure it is straight.  Another important tip I didn't mention earlier, when you buy the molding in the store check each piece to see if it's straight.  Some of those longs pieces get a little wonky from sitting in the store.
The glue is great because it doesn't create an instant stick, so you have time to wiggle it around and get it just right. 
These are pics of the molding I used on the front door.  This is twice the size of what is on the other door.  I wanted something with more presence.  You can see from here what I mean about not making the cuts upside-down.  If you don't get the cut right on this one you would definitely be able to tell.
This door was a little trickier in placement since there is a doorknob and a deadbolt to work around and because they are five panels as apposed to two.  But, still pretty straight forward.  Once I had the design, spacing and measurement figured.  The cutting, placing, leveling and gluing seriously only took about an hour.
I will say, after finishing the painting, that next time I will make sure the door is completely painted before adding the molding, and paint the molding before hand as well.  This way all I will have to do is touch up.  Painting around things or with obstacles is not my favorite thing.  I cannot express how much I LOVE the outcome.  If you want to see the before and after again you can check that out here.
The total cost for both doors was under $45 for molding, caulk, and glue.  I already had the miter saw and box, but you can get one like I showed you for under $10.  The front door carrying the brunt of that at $25.  Still an amazing transformation for just a little cost, and a little time.
Have those boring flat builder-grade 80's doors in your house?  Don't buy new doors - try this!!  You can do it - and you will be amazed!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Christmas Tree 2012

It's Christmas tree share day!!
I have never been a matchy - matchy kind of girl when it came to my Christmas tree.  I love them and I think they look beautiful, but that decor never worked out for me.  When we were first married we hardly had enough ornaments to cover the front of the tree, and didn't really have the cash to spend on a treeful of ornaments.  Each year I would add a few cuties during after-Christmas sales, and my collection slowly grew.  We have held to the tradition of purchasing a family ornament each year, some describing what was going on that year, and others that were personalized with names and year.  Sometimes we include the kids in the picking out and other times we just make it easy and
do it ourselves, because 2 heads are most often better than 6 :).
And then, we had children who began bringing home these adorable hand-made ornaments which I adore.
As my kids are all older now, new ornaments come fewer and fewer each year.  And, I come apart a little more each time I pull them out and gaze out these precious smiles and cheeks, and those little hands.  Where has the time gone??
As a matter of fact, the kids decorated the entire tree by themselves this year.  They really do love doing it, and it takes no time at all.  I turned on the Christmas music and unpacked the tins and they went to work.
I was unsure how it would work this year.  Because unlike those starting out years we have lots of ornaments now, because I still shop those after-Christmas sales.  Here is what my stash looks like all stored up.
Yep, those are old popcorn tins that I cleaned out and used for storage ;)  And here is my frustration...
See, my wonderful hubby had purchased this wonderfully awesome 9.5 ft pre-lit slim tree at an after-Christmas sale about 8 years ago for $35.  Yes, $35.  He called me and told what he had found and said "should I get it, is that a good deal??"  and I quickly said "YES!!"  Now I kinda wish I would've said "get two!!"  Because when I got this beauty out and fluffed and plugged in - only half the lights worked.  So, then I thought - 'I can fix it' - and proceeded to try - and then decided it wasn't worth it.  So, I then pulled out our old 7.5 ft tree that I had kept thinking I would someday put up two trees and decided to use that.  So, I wasn't sure that all the ornaments from the 9.5 ft tree would fit on the 7.5 ft tree - but the kids, they made them fit.  The tree is full, and I mean full or ornaments.  I love it!!
Here's another look
Glorious imperfection is perfect to me :)
Oh, and if you are wondering, the tree skirt was a tablecloth that I got at an after-Christmas sale at Target, several years ago that I transformed - cost much less than a store bought skirt.
I wish I could keep the tree up all year long.  It just make me happy looking at it, twinkling lights and precious ornaments. 
Linking up today at