Love Story 3 column

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Christmas List

Saw this list on my friend Michelle's blog (Texas Tanners) and decided to share my own answers.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. (Right now I am loving Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection - Dark Chocolate Sensation.)
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? This is our 1st year to do "Santa" and it will be a Little Tykes picnic table for our 2 year old. It will not be wrapped, just sitting out in the living room. (My parents never wrapped our Santa gifts.)

3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white? White for me. My husband would like colored lights, but I've convinced him to use white for 15 years, so I think I've won that battle!
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. One year I made a kissing ball, but didn't make it very well, so it kept falling apart.

5. When do you put your decorations up? I used to do it right after Thanksgiving, but now that I have a daughter with a Dec 2 birthday, we wait until after her party.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? My Aunt Jane's cranberry salad. I don't remember ever having it until about 5 or 6 years ago, but I fell in love. I've made it for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas every year since.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Until I was 12, both sets of grandparents lived in the same city (about a 4 hour drive from our home). We alternated which ones we stayed with each year. We would open presents with my dad's family on Christmas Eve and with my mom's family on Christmas morning. We got to see all the aunts, uncles, and cousins. I think spending time with family is such a big part of the Christmas season!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Fourth grade in the cafeteria lunch line. My best friend, Laurie, had a sister who was 4 years older than us, so she always found things out before me. She spilled the beans to me, but I got to "keep believing" since my brother (5 years younger) was still a believer.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope. Although I have nothing against it.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? White lights, wooden cranberry bead garland, ribbon bows, and completely random ornaments. My favorites are the ones we buy when we travel or to represent something special for that year. When I get them out each year, I remember the wonderful times from years past. This year's ornaments are from the Houston Zoo (had our 1st season pass this year), Sea World, and Universal Studios Orlando.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? How about don't even get it! Well, I take that back - our last snow in Houston was Dec 4, 2009, the day we brought Annelise home from the hospital. It hadn't been cold enough very long, so nothing stuck, but it was nice to watch out the window. We actually had a white Christmas in 2004. It snowed on Christmas Eve, so we walked around outside while it was falling around midnight. The next morning, there was actually a little bit left on the grass, but it melted in the sun by mid-day. Not sure I would actually want to live where it really snows, but it's nice to have a glimpse now and then.
12. Can you ice skate? It's been a really long time. I used to roller skate all over the neighborhood as a child, and would go ice skating whenever we visited my grandparents. But the last time I tried was in college over 15 years ago, so I'd be a little scared to try at this point.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Fourth grade - Cabbage Patch Kid. Yes, that's also the same year I found out Santa wasn't real, but he still delivered! That's about the only time I ever got the gift that was all the rage that year.
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending time with family and friends, being part of all the festivities at our church, and remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season.
15.What is your favorite Holiday dessert? My mom's fudge. Yummy!
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 before opening Christmas gifts. We always did this with my family growing up, and I'm proud that it's a tradition with my in-laws, too. When our girls are older, we are planning to each year spotlight a different country our families came from. Hopefully that will include traditions, decorations, and food. Since we have a 2 year old and one on the way, it will be about 4-5 years before we begin, but it's fun to dream about now.

17. What tops your tree? A gold, glittery star.
18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Am I incredibly shallow if I say both? I love to see someone's eyes light up when I give them something they want or really like. But I also like to be reminded that people love & appreciate me, too!
19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? Yum!
20. Favorite Christmas show? Old: The classics I'm getting to introduce to Annelise like Rudolph, Frosty, & Charlie Brown; White Christmas; It's a Wonderful Life. New: The Santa Clause series and Elf.

21. Saddest Christmas Song? I'll Be Home for Christmas (because it might be "only in my dreams").

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night. My favorite version is by Point of Grace.

I hope my list has made you reminisce about some of your favorite Christmas moments.

 Merry Christmas from Julie, Annelise, & Eric!
(and Caroline is coming soon!)

Happy Crafting,

3rd Christmas is a Charm

If you know me personally, you probably know I'm a pretty big procrastinator. It could be my middle name! When I was pregnant the first time around, I decided to start my daughter's Christmas stocking early (she was due at the end of November, and was born on Dec 2). Many years before, I had made mine and my husband's stockings (one cross stitch and one needlepoint), and knew Annelise's needed to be equally elaborate.

Well, somewhere along the way in my pregnancy with her, I got lazy and procrastinated and didn't finish the stocking. What would she know? She was only 3 weeks old for her 1st Christmas! Then I thought I would get it finished for her 2nd Christmas - nope! This year I found some kind of "determination switch" within me and finally got it done. TWO days before Christmas, but still before Christmas.


I particularly chose this stocking to make since it had our exact family represented: Dad, Mom, Little One, and Dog. That's us (for another 8 weeks, at least!).

Here's our mantel. It's not very elaborate, but the nativity is our most important display in the house, so it gets the place of honor!

A closer view of all three stockings.

Now it's time to start making a stocking for baby #2. Think I can finish it before her 3rd Christmas? That would be 2014. I'll try to do better this time!!!

Happy crafting & Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crayon Roll Party Favors

For my daughter's 2nd birthday, I wanted to make something special for each party guest. I have seen crayon rolls at craft sales and totally knew I could make them myself. So I just googled them and found lots of tutorials. I took my favorite parts from 2 different blogs (Make It & Love It and The Pleated Poppy) and whipped up a few.

I looked for some Disney fabric to go along with our Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme (see full party post here), but couldn't find exactly what I wanted. There were several Mickey fabrics to be found, but the only Minnie fabric I could find was either flannel or fleece. I wanted plain cotton. So I just went a basic boy/girl route with some cute fabric I found at - where else? - Hobby Lobby. And of course, they had great coordinating themes. Besides, maybe the other kiddos aren't ultra-MMC fans like we are at out house.

Here's how they turned out:

 For the girls - pink butterflies!

 All rolled up.

For the boys - robots and stripes.

I like the ribbon ties I've seen on some crayon rolls, but since these were being given to 2 year olds, I thought they stood a better chance of looping a hair elastic around a big button. I've never seen a toddler tie a bow! These were super easy to make, and since I made 4 of each, the assembly line process made them go pretty quickly.
Right now we are trying to get Annelise's bedroom transformed from nursery to big girl room. But for some reason, my husband keeps injuring himself. He got a pinched nerve in one shoulder over Thanksgiving, and as soon as he was over that, he got a bruised rib near the other shoulder playing flag football last weekend. He's not up for rearranging furniture. So now we are waiting on some college guys from our church to come over and give us a hand. One of these days! I really wanted to get her in her big girl bed earlier this month to give her lots of transition time before the baby comes (mid February), but at this point we will just have to go with it.

Anyway, I hope to have some posts soon about how cute her new big girl room is. Just don't hold your breath!

In the meantime, I have packages to wrap, one more Christmas gift to sew (for Annelise, of course!), a stocking to finish (2 1/2 years in the making), a house to clean, groceries to buy, and cooking to do. What? There are only 3 days until Christmas? I'd better get busy.

Happy crafting,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - 2nd Birthday Party

My daughter's 2nd birthday was earlier this month, and the theme was soooo easy to choose. Her favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She asks every morning if it's time for Mickey yet. We had all the grandparents, 2 aunts & a cousin, and 4 little friends at our house for quite a fun morning. Here's a little taste of it all...


(Aaaargh! I cannot figure out how to rotate a pic when it uploads wrong. It was the right direction in my browser. Anyone have a tip?)

Straw sippies for the kids with milk or juice. Water for the grown-ups with an assortment of Crystal Light singles to mix in.

Recipe idea from Disney Junior website. Big hit with the kiddos! (We also had regular pizza for the grown-ups.)

Decorated using template from Disney Junior.

I forgot to take the picture before most of the kids left - there were a few more bags and ears. I made the ears from craft foam using a template from - where else? - Disney Junior. The favor bags included MMC coloring pages from Disney Junior, fruit snacks, a Mickey sticker sheet, and a crayon roll that I made (will post about soon). The kids also got to take their ears home. I got the Toodles clip art from Momma Did It.

Here are some pics of Annelise enjoying her party:

Taking it all in. She's wearing the Minnie Mouse costume I made her for Halloween.

Enjoying her food. Such a little lady!

Finally got her Minnie ears on her for a few minutes while she was distracted by all the presents!

Think she's ready for cake?

The proper way to eat your cake when you're a 2 year old! (At least she's using a fork instead of her hands. That's the bright side, right?)

All in all, Annelise had a great time at her party. Hope you enjoyed taking a peek at our festivities.

Happy crafting,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Boutique Style at a Walmart Price

A few months ago, I was given a sewing pattern by my MOPS director, Nicole. It's a super easy pattern to follow, but looks just like some of those pricey but precious outfits you see in boutiques. I thought it would be great for a Christmas outfit. You could expect to spend $50 or more for an outfit like this, but I spent less than $15 - with fabric on sale from Hobby Lobby, of course!

Here's the pattern, #2171 from Simplicity:
The pattern pictures show this as a summer outfit with cropped pants, but it was pretty simple to add a couple of inches to the pant length (before adding the ruffle) to make this work for "winter." (We're in Texas, you know!)

Here's a little tip when sewing pants that don't have a clear front or back:
Oh, it's so annoying when pics don't upload the right direction. Anyway, if you tilt your head to the side, you can see what I did. Before you fold over and stitch your elastic casing at the waist, use a tiny zig zag stitch (about 1/2" long) right at the back. Now when you dress your child, it's easy to tell which side of the pants go in the back. My husband really appreciates this trick!

Here's the finished outfit:

And here it is in action:

And the shot we used for our Christmas card this year:

Merry Christmas, and Happy Crafting,