Something simple that I’m enjoying this holiday season is capturing little holiday details, sharing them on Instagram and seeing others do the same. I’ve also been participating in a couple of series lately. The #happyholigram tag is one of my favorites. Are you on Instagram? Share your name so I can follow along with your festivities this holiday season.
Here are a few other favorites from my week:
We’ve purchased most of our gifts online this year, so boxes showing up at our house is almost a daily occurrence. The stack of boxes in the garage is getting pretty tall, so this weekend I decided to put some of the cardboard to use by making gingerbread house gift tags. I had planned to make them by myself – you know, so Jason and Jenna wouldn’t wonder why Santa was using our homemade gift tags – but Jenna can always tell when I’ve got something crafty going on in the office and it wasn’t long before she was in on the action. Since starting school, Jason has become much more interested in coloring and crafts, so of course, he joined in.
These are very easy to make and could be used as gift tags or ornaments. I started by cutting a few panels off of cardboard boxes (in areas that didn’t have any printing) and then made a couple of house patterns out of regular paper. I traced the patterns onto the cardboard and then cut the cardboard using a ruler and extacto knife. We used a white Galaxy Marker (which can be purchased at Hobby Lobby) and charcoal crayons to decorate the houses. Once the houses were complete, I used a hole punch at the top and then tied some silver twine through the hole.
And now we have our very first present under the tree:
I’m sharing a new post on Honest to Nod today: Mitten Hand Prints. These are very simple to make using air-dry clay and can be used as gifts, ornaments and keepsakes. Check out the post here.
Decorating gingerbread houses has become a Christmas tradition for us. Some families have an Elf running around leaving a trail of marshmallows behind, we have our sticky, sugar-fueled children. This is one of Jason and Jenna’s most-loved holiday activities, but I’m not sure if it’s the joy of decorating or the joy of frosting that drives their excitement. There was definitely a lot of eating going on, especially since this year we were able to incorporate dye-free candy canes and sprinkles. (The red balls were left over from a couple of years ago, but luckily J+J know those are decoration-only.)
I think the best part of this year’s festivities was how much Jason got in on the action. He had announced in advance that his gingerbread house was going to be an “Angry Birds Lego Monster Haunted House” theme, and he quickly moved through the decorating phase so that he could work on arranging his cast of characters.
Here are a few scenes from our gingerbread decorating:
Earlier this week I read an article about managing stress and expectations during the holidays. The advice is simple, but helpful. Make a list of your holiday expectations – what’s really important to your family and what adds unnecessary stress?
Unfortunately for me, one of the things at the top of my ‘really important’ list is also one of the most stressful: Christmas cards. Every year, I try to send out cards with a picture of Jason and Jenna, but getting a great picture of these two is nearly impossible. Jason doesn’t stand still long enough to be in focus, and Jenna easily becomes annoyed by being photographed. This year was no exception in the difficulty category, but I’m happy to report that after promising a couple of candy canes, I was able to capture a couple of pretty cute pics of J+J. Christmas Cards. Check. (The photos above are outtake from this year’s pictures.)
Here are a few other favorites from my week:
I made a simple holiday garland this weekend using material I had on hand. I purchased some felt balls from Purl Soho a few months ago and had been wanting to put them to use. I’ve seen a couple of felt ball garlands online and it made me wish I had purchased more. Since I only had a handful, I decided to combine them with felt flowers and pom poms.
I made the flowers by cutting petals out of felt and sewing them together in the center. I used this tutorial, minus the decoupage/glue step.
For the poms poms, I used this tutorial. Jenna really wanted to help, so I wrapped the yarn around her hands to form the pom poms instead of my own.
Once the pieces were ready, I threaded everything onto red and white striped twine.
And then I placed the garland along our windows in the kitchen.
We let Jason and Jenna decorate the tree last weekend when we returned from our trip to Kansas City. It was fun sitting back and watching while they placed all of the ornaments on the bottom half of the tree. Our plan was to re-distribute the ornaments after they fell asleep that night, but it’s been almost a week and our tree is still pretty bare on top. They each have their own approach to hanging ornaments: Jenna walks around the tree looking for just the right spot for the ornament in her hands, while Jason carries as many ornaments as possible to the tree and places them all side-by-side, even if they are identical. It’s perfection vs efficiency.
Here are a few more favorites from my week:
Hope you had a very merry Christmas. Here are a few scenes from our weekend.
Santa’s little kitty helper
Making sure Santa drank his milk
All is merry and bright, especially Jason
Our Christmas table
Jenna loves being the baby
We decorated a gingerbread house earlier this week. Are gingerbread houses more of a Thanksgiving thing? A nearby grocery store started carrying pre-made houses around Thanksgiving, and I went to buy one this week only to find out that they don’t carry them anymore. What? Luckily, there was one left in the back. It wasn’t exactly in perfect condition, but I had promised J+J, so I happily paid full price for the leftover house. Then I loaded up on chocolate chips, marshmallows and frosting and headed home. We removed all artificial dyes from our kids diets at the start of the year, so activities like this can sometimes be a challenge. Even most marshmallows have dye in them, but I’ve found dye-free versions at Walmart and Whole Foods. Judging from their reactions, and the way Jenna continued to work on the house throughout the day, I don’t think they were disappointed by the lack of rainbow colors. We’ll definitely be doing this again next Christmas … or Thanksgiving.
Pistachio toffee gifts made by me and my little chocolate-faced helper. We used this recipe to make corn-syrup-free toffee, but substituted pistachios for the almonds. Yum!