Tag Archives: christmas

Christmas 2013 – Bringing it Back

“Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas… around which the entire kid year revolved.” -A Christmas Story

Yes, so true. As a kid, Christmas was everything. It was packing up the station wagon and driving our family of six from Missouri to Connecticut to be with my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. And for some reason, my only memory of the trip is my cousin, Holly, getting a Rainbow Brite pony. I, did not.

It was getting the best Christmas present ever, my tiny Calico kitten, whose sweet patchy face popped out of a perfectly wrapped box revealing a holiday surprise I’ll never, ever forget. And it remained with us for the next 21 years.

It was dancing the night away to the golden oldies that filled our jukebox with our best family friends, the Andres’, down in our basement.

It was taking the trip downtown to St. Louis Center to see the Christmas Bear display then waiting in line to sit in Santa’s lap.

It was waiting in a line of neighborhood traffic to get a glimpse of the Minor’s house, a family in our parish who decorated their home in Griswold-like proportions.

Yep, it was pretty much everything.

But, as time went on, and I grew up, the magic of Christmas started to blur. I still enjoyed it , especially as the youngest of four, it meant that all of my older siblings would be back from college for a few weeks. This gave me a break from the suffering of an “only child.” And, when I was in college, or moved away for a couple of years in my 20’s, it was a nice reason to be home again. But, after a while, the thrill started to fade. It  became a routine.

But, suddenly, it’s back.

Marco’s only two, so he’s still on the verge of really getting it. But we’re close. Having kids means the spirit of Christmas has returned. As our first Christmas as a family of four, the memories are being made.

It’s the excitement of opening a mound of presents in your PJs, underneath that twinkling tree.

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It’s getting the chance to test out your cousin’s awesome gift. Sorry you didn’t get a Corvette, Marco. I know know how it feels.

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It’s taking the annual grandkid shot. Ty makes it ten.
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It’s breaking in Uncle Allen’s big gift – Karaoke for all.
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It’s bonding with the cousins we don’t get to see nearly enough.

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Having kids really does change things. And like so many other things in our lives, for the best. While I’m glad that the next Christmas is 11 months away, I look forward to knowing the excitement surrounding it is finally back.



Filed under baby

My Holiday Art Project

Walk into our house, and you’ll immediately notice our original oak, built-in bookshelves surrounding the mantel. I think they’re pretty beautiful. But, easy…they are not. Rather than figuring out how to decorate one mantel for every season, I have the challenge of adorning the mantel, and it’s two sides.

I recall not being entirely thrilled with whatever I ended up doing last Christmas. Then again, with a newborn in the house, it was all pretty much a blur anyway. So, this year, I did what any other sane woman my age would do…I searched Pinterest.

That’s when I came across this festive, glittery reindeer.

I figured I could do that, times two. So I simply bought some sale-priced canvases, a little glitter and some glue. Then I found a couple of cute reindeer silhouettes online, and roughly drew them from there.

I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with the final products!


With one deer on each side, I now have some balance to my extra-long mantel. They cost me a total of maybe $16 and, seriously, I think I had the whole project finished in about 45 minutes. VERY imporant since my little 1 year-old helper was there by my side.

And now I’m starting to wonder what I could create if I had 4-day weekends all the time…

Party-Linked to:

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Filed under decorating, DIY, this 'n that

A Very Merry Photo Opp

I’m not gonna lie, since the day we signed the contract on our new home, I’ve been envisioning this year’s Christmas card. Luckily, we’re closing just in the St. Nick of time to get our picture taken and sent before Christmas arrives. I’m thinking I’ll do something like this simple, yet adorable, Christmas Photo Card I found at Shutterfly to showcase our  home…

Only, the real card will feature our new house (above is our current home), the two of us, the dogs (of course), and hopefully the fresh coat of snow they’re predicting for Sunday! Oh, and it’s also an easy opportunity to share our new address…the one plus to moving during the craziness of the holidays.

Since I received my first digital camera years ago, I’ve always counted on Shutterfly to give me gorgeous prints and other great photo pieces. I even used them for our “extra” wedding album photo book (way back when) that was both affordable and beautiful…which would be a great gift idea for anyone you know who has gotten married this year…

(pictures taken by Nicole Welch)

And,  Shutterfly is  great for everything else including birth announcements and shower invites – like the one I recently made for my sister-in-law’s shower, just before she and my brother were blessed with my adorable new nephew!

Basically, if you have some shots to show off, you can always count on Shutterfly. If you can’t help but agree, join their call for bloggers here by Friday, December 10. You can get 50 free Christmas cards of your own!

Here are a few more Christmas cards I’m thinking might be just right for our 2010 greetings…

And, to finish it off, just a little memory of a piece of last year’s card…my favorite Santa pic ever.

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Filed under DIY, this 'n that

Subway Decoupage

Lately, I’ve been drawn to the art of subway signs (as you can see in this recent post). Feeling inspired by the excess of Christmas music on the radio, I thought I would try one for myself.

After discovering the easy craft of decoupage, I decided to use it as the medium for my holly jolly Christmas sign. And with little browsing online, I learned all that I needed was some craft glue.

And a sponge brush.

I was able to create the sign itself in Microsoft Word.

I used some cheap plywood as my base (since this was my first attempt at decoupage, I wanted to keep it simple and inexpensive). Then used the sponge brush to apply one layer of glue directly to the wood. Once the glue was on, I laid out my printed art, and smoothed it out to get rid of all air bubbles. I then applied another coat to the top of the art to give it a finished look, and let it dry.

And that was it! Unfortunately, the rest of my Christmas decor is in boxes, on the verge of being moved to the new house, so this was the extent of my holiday vignette. In the non-moving world, I could imagine this as a nice complement to a pretty mantle display, or hanging cheerfully on a wall near the tree.

And being my first time at decoupage, this is still a work in progress. I have high hopes of fully mastering the art of decoupage as soon as we’re all moved in. ;D

To see even more crafty holiday ideas, visit the Holiday link party on Censtational Girl’s, Momnivore’s Dilemma and DIY Showoff!




P.S. Very happy birthday to my husband…being the mature adult he is, he convinced me to let him open his present a day early. I couldn’t help but oblige, as I was so excited to see the finished product. I ordered it from etsy (the shop, Carved in Stone, is actually located in Springfield, Missouri — yay, local!) It turned out sooo beautifully. It’s in honor of his pumpkin patch-in-planning at our new home! Oh, and it weighs like 50 lbs. Quality stuff!


Filed under decorating, DIY, our growing garden, pumpkin patch, pumpkins, this 'n that

Holiday Decoration Inspiration

Since our mid-December move makes holiday decorating pretty much impossible this year, I’ve been living vicariously through the spirit of others. Here are a few ideas I’ve found via a blog link party. I thought it might help fill the ho, ho, ho missing from my own posts.


I loved this vintage-looking red block sign from Unskinny Boppy.



The floating (with fishing line) ornaments done at The Lettered Cottage.


The pewter planters found on Finding Home.


And the reindeer proudly assisting the mantle at Restyled Home 
(and another bold-lettered Christmas sign, too).

All sorts of great ideas out there. I guess that means more inspiration to save up for our new home next year!


Filed under cottage, decorating, DIY, the great indoors, this 'n that

Cherry French Onion Spread

In case you’re not stuffed enough already, here’s a delicious recipe you’ve gotta try (cause in all reality, the holiday binge has only just begun).

I had this for the first time when my friend, Ashley, made it over the summer. Considering I was still thinking about it this past week, I decided to make it for a family party on Wednesday. The best part — not only is it totally addicting, it’s super easy to make! 

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 green onions
1 cup chopped pecans or almond slivers
1/2 cup mayo

1 jar of preserves (I used tart cherry pomegranate, my friend made hers with raspberry)

Mix the ingredients together then spread 1 1/2 cups preserves (one jar) over the top. 

Refrigerate before serving. Serve with crackers or Wheat Thins.



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Filed under from the kitchen, recipes

Oh, What The Neighbors Will Say…

You know those people? The ones whose front porch displays the spirit of Christmas year-round? It begins innocently enough in the month of December. They pick a frigid Saturday afternoon, lean that 14-ft ladder against their roof, and then adorn their home with glowing lights that will soon spread holiday cheer throughout the neighborhood.

Then January rolls around.

Then February.

Then July.

Before you know it, it’s November and they’re the ones getting credit for being “the first in the neighborhood to ring in the holidays.”
And the cycle begins all over again.

Well, that’s kind of what it’s like at our house right now. Only for us, it’s not a string of lights – it’s a pumpkin patch.

Case in point, last week I sat down to watch TV… and had to look twice upon finding a new display on our mantle.

 (no need to check your calendar — it’s still August)

You see, one of the most remarkable things about my husband is his passion for mastering his next new hobby. When he gets his mind on something, you better believe he’s going to study, learn and practice that craft until reaching ungodly perfection. And this year, the hobby is growing pumpkins.

Let me rephrase that.

This year the hobby is growing the BIGGEST pumpkin he could create within the cozy, suburban corner of our Midwestern backyard.

He spends hours during the day researching the methods, then hours in the evening putting his research to work.

Many a neighbor has strolled by, politely inquiring about the greenery poking through our fence. “So, I noticed there’s something in your yard.” or “Now, ahh, what exactly is that you’re growing?”

And, with pride oozing from his grin, Lucas shows off the harvested goods.

With the hot St. Louis summer, some of the pumpkins have already been picked. So the festive yard has slowly made its way into our home.

(if you noticed in my previous post, the “after” shot was a little cropped…had I shown the whole room, this is what you would have found).

The pumpkin on top weighs nearly 100 lbs. That would be the Atlantic Giant (pretty impressive considering the seeds were bought at Lowes and our summer has been awfully hot).

The others were a mix of  Jack-o-Lanterns, pancake pumpkins, white pumpkins (which turned out to be orange with traces of green), gourds and miniature pumpkins.

And even the dogs are enjoying the summer crop.

I definitely see our pumpkin patch as a tradition in the making. And Lucas already has plans on how he’s going to triple the size of that giant for next year.

So watch out Charlie Brown (and the whole neighborhood), the Great Pumpkin is here to stay.

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Filed under life with fur, our growing garden, outside we go, pumpkin patch