Christmas Decor

Are you ready for this or are you over it? Doesn’t really matter, actually. Let’s go!

This year, I finally did outside lights for the first time. Ever. You guys, this is a big deal. I was intimidated because I wasn’t sure how to plug them in since we don’t have an outdoor outlet (something I’d like to change eventually). I ended up snaking the extension cord underneath the gaping hole in our garage door flashing (something that I’d also like to change eventually). I even used a timer and felt very smug about it.

I copied a friend and wrapped lights around the posts and called it good enough.

front_step

I know, it doesn’t look like much. But when I’d sneak out for my morning run in the dark, they made me so happy. Lights are magical! Plus, I scored the lights on mega clearance last year so that’s secretly thrilling to me. I don’t love the silver ball wreath around the light but I couldn’t figure out where else to put it and it’s actually gorgeous at night when the light is on, so I left it.

I’ve been perusing clearance Christmas trees to fill out the front step – wish me good deal finding luck!

The boxwood wreath is from Trader Joes and it’s so fresh and pretty. I stuck a gold sparkly sprig in it and that was it.

wreath

I actually bought two more boxwood wreaths to hang on either side of the garage but the Command Hooks were out to get me so that didn’t happen. I felt defeated, I’m not going to lie. Come on inside, the Command Hooks got me in there too.

I like to decorate the hutch by mixing in a few holiday things among all of the white pieces:

hutch_full

Truthfully, I was going to clear out all of the toys for the picture but I thought maybe one day, I’ll want to remember what Christmas decorating with littles around is like. So, they stayed in all of their primary-colored messy glory.

The navy mercury tree was from last year when I lost my mind in the after Christmas sales. I scored it for cheap! I didn’t want it to happen but the Target Dollar Spot lured me once again this season. How cute are these ceramic houses and bottle brush trees!?

hutch1

You can even put tea lights in the houses, which I hope to do next year. I think they would be so sweet all aglow at night.

The left side:

hutch3

It’s a sparse, I should have crammed the bowl full of ornaments but I didn’t. Hey! Another sprig! I love that word, don’t you?

Moving over to the other side, Elf made her appearance again this year. She’s been with me for Christmas ever since I was a kid!

hutch

The couch finally -FINALLY- got new throw pillows.

couch_pillows

I’ve been hesitating to buy them because sticky fingers makes me think twice about buying anything to make the house look nice, you know?

I wanted to add some extra holiday cheer and this cozy bear and plaid throw seemed to fit right in:

holiday_pillow

Christmas pictures. I have a matching frame for Cade’s first Christmas but no picture printed yet. I need to do that. I need to do a lot of things but instead, I drink coffee.

xmas_pictures Also! “New” lamps that I intend to bore you with someday.

Moving to the kitchen. I strung our cards up here and added one of the rogue boxwoods that had no home. Two wreaths would have made this look much better. Maybe next year.

xmas_cardsNext year, I plan to do two strands for the card display. We got a big handful right before Christmas that sat in a pile on our table because I was zapped of motivation to hang them by then.

Of course, I plopped a few pretties in my tray on the kitchen table.

tray

I had two helpers with the tree this year. For the first time, Amelie was really into it.

sibs_decorating

Last year, I did it by myself. Amelie was too crabby so I put her to bed and I did the rest one-handed, holding Cade who was naked from the waist down because of some bad diaper rash. A lot has changed in a year!

And, Ta Da!

tree

One new thing I added this year, a step button to turn on the tree lights. Like, duh. It’s so amazing. I also added one strand of twinkling lights (clearance score from last year) and that was a fun change-up.

Originally, I planned to drape layered garlands along the window but my Command Hooks were not cooperating and I just gave up. I did manage to get the wreath up that MamaP bought me last season, so there is that.

The rest of the house got a sprinkling of cheer, starting with our downstairs bath:

downstairs_bath

And my vanity, that I intend to tell you about someday too:

vanityIn Cade’s room, I thought the rustic mini tree would fit nicely since he has an “outdoorsy” inspired room:

cade_desk

(Hey, remember when this desk used to look like this?)

desk2

I know. Even the drawers are organized. More on that someday…

Anyway, a closeup of that adorable fuzzy owl:

cade_tree

I also added these glitter trees from Target Dollar Spot. That place! Is the best. Isn’t it?

cade_room

The glitter trees are actually supposed to be paired with bigger trees but Amelie wanted those for her room. She even adorned them with ornaments herself:

amelie_roomSo sweet, huh? If you zoom out though, this is what her room looks like at all times.

amelie_room2

She is very busy during her quiet time. She reads out loud. She changes clothes. She does puzzles, builds train tracks, turns lights on and off, shreds paper into bits. I can’t complain though because she stays up in her room the entire time. She is amazing!

Did I lose you in the mess? I hope not. I decided to cut to the end even though I had a few more things to show you – holiday sheets for our bed (that is rumpled and unmade) and the gold tree for the playroom that I never managed to get decorated. Oh well, right? I can see that you’re tired. Me too, my friend.

It’s a lot of work to put up but there sure is a magic to it all, isn’t there?

cade_tree

I’m keeping the tree up for a little longer. I can’t say goodbye just yet.

The Tour of Christmas’ past: 2010, 2011, 2012 (we moved on Dec. 20th that year!), 2013 (Amelie’s first), 2014 (Cade’s first; he didn’t care because he was sleeping) and 2015.

 

 

Merry Christmas!

family_pjs

Picture perfect, am I right?

Amelie figured out which presents were hers pretty fast. “A-M-E-L-I-E spells Ah-mo-me!!!”

gift_tag

“Elsa” had a very good Christmas and yes, we are full on in Frozen mode over here.

elsa_dress

Cade loved his books, garbage truck and tunnel from Grandma. He exclaimed “Oh my goodness!” as he opened presents. It was so adorable, I almost fainted.

cade_xmas

We set out our stockings for Santa. Oh and I plan to do a Christmas decor post but you know how well I get things done around here.

treeOur considerate Amelie/Elsa/Ice Princess set out the treats for Santa and his reindeer:

carrot_cookie

Santa “filled” their stockings (he was stingy because they don’t know any better) but also brought them a new-to-them train table!

train_table

Man, that thing is huge and hard to vacuum around. The kids love it!

Christmas 2016 was magical and sweet but also, as always, real life things crept in like a flat tire, crabby kids, a PMSing Mom, and overeating bloat. I tried to savor the magic and ignore the other stuff but I didn’t do a very good job. Ugh, huh?

I hope you had a love-filled holiday and that the bloat didn’t get you like it did me!

If you are feeling nostalgic like me, a look back on Christmas 2015.

Christmas Salsa

I have hardly done any Christmas baking or crafting this year (or any year since having babies?) but I did manage to whip up some cranberry salsa to hand out as gifts. Ok let’s be honest. I started making the salsa but was running short on time getting myself together so Zack had to finish it for me. I am one of those thoughtful but inept types. Didn’t they turn out cute though?

christmas_salsa

I’ve been hoarding these little jars leftover from my MIL’s jam for a long while now; they’ve been sitting quietly in this cabinet ready to go. This salsa is a really nice alternative to homemade sweets but still feels “seasonal” with the cranberries and oranges. It goes great topped on chicken and probably pork too!

Eat and be cran-merry!

(Ugh, that was the worst).

Cade Turns 2!

Well, he turned two over two weeks ago. It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged, hasn’t it? How do we start back up again? Reintroduce ourselves? Just pretend we weren’t away?

We hosted Cade’s party on his actual birthday, December 3rd, which was especially sweet. If it were up to Cade, it would have been Thomas The Train themed. But since Mama is driving this front engine, I chose a Colorado theme. I like that much better. He’ll probably hold it against me into adulthood, as he should. I’m the worst!

Zack and I created cute invitations but when we went to print them, the colors I spent carefully selecting turned out totally wonky. Apparently my taste is much too nuanced for the cheap printer at the library. I’ll take that as a compliment because I’m low on those anyhow.

Come on in, it’s party time.

front_door

Sidenote, we finally ordered a new front door. It should be installed sometime soon, can you believe it!? What color should I paint it? Navy? Ok I will. I think that’s a great idea!

Anyway, back to the party? A closer look at the invites.

cade_sign

Let me pause and mention that the craft closet organization I did this summer made all of the little party crafting so easy to pull together. If only the rest of my life felt that way…

For food, we had white bean chicken chili simmering in the crockpot, cornbread muffins, chips and salsa, veggies and hummus, and mac and cheese for the kids. I wish they’d eat something besides that but oh well.

setup

Here is an up close of the paper plates because I was overly thrilled to find these at Target – on clearance no less! I thought they looked liked mountains and matched my original color scheme perfectly (until the library printer shenanigans, of course).

mountain_plates

Anyway, probably nobody noticed but I took delight in them. Here is the rest of the party setup. The empty bowl awaits the much anticipated mac and cheese!

setup2

I had the cupcakes made at the local bakery and they turned out mostly cute.

cupcakes_top

I made the mistake of keeping the glittery red washi tape on the example for the bakery and their fondant printer turned it into a weird army green color. It was kinda gross looking but what can you do? This is the only time washi tape has failed me, by the way. Washi tape is the best!

I had Zack print a few extra copies of our invite stripped down to “Cade turns 2″ that I used as decorations. These also doubled as Thank You cards for later. Aren’t I so super smart?

cupcakes_center

In the past, we’ve always offered beer for the grownups. Nobody drinks them. What sleep deprived parents of busy toddlers really need instead is a stocked coffee station. Coffee is life!

coffee_station

I borrowed the mugs and tray from a friend and added my new creamer and sugar set. Why did it take me so long to buy these, I have no idea. I also added fresh flowers from Trader Joes. Believe it or not, I bought the flowers a week BEFORE the party and they are still going strong even as I blog and in spite of much neglect. Go get yourself some!

Funny story about the treat bags:

treat_bags

I made them in JULY. I’m not exaggerating. I was inspired after organizing the craft closet and they took me an evening to make. I felt a little foolish doing this six months in advance but soon after cross country season arrived and I was an exhausted lunatic until mid November when the season finally wrapped up. I’m really glad that all I had to do is pull these out of the closet come party day.

I had the best intensions to blanket stitch the iron-on appliques more securely, as well as add the kid’s name with iron-on letters. I figured I had plenty of time but of course that did not get done, now did it?

Inside the treat bags, I included three Colorado-themed coloring pages I found on Pinterest, ROCKy mountain CANDY (Get it? I think I’m SO clever sometimes but then when I unplug the garage door opener to check my outdoor Christmas lights and proceed to stomp around fuming wondering WHY IN THE HELL WON’T THE GARAGE DOOR CLOSE OR OPEN OR DO ANY EFFIN THING?!! until after much wasted time and cussing, I remember to plug it back in and realize that I am, in fact, not clever whatsoever), plus a toy car from the Target Dollar spot that doesn’t go with the theme and yes, that really bothered me. Still does. So does this entire run-on paragraph so why not end it with an incomplete sentence?

treat_bag_contents

I was originally going to have the kids make their own rock candy or put together some sort of take home kit…but then I decided it was easier to order some off of Amazon instead. Yay for two day shipping!

rock_candy

You can barely see them below, but I whipped up a few poofs and hung them over the food station. They are easy and fool-proof to make and always add a little pizzaz. Yeah, you know, pizzaz.

Here is the birthday boy, blowing out his candle!

bday_candle

Actually, he mostly sputtered in its general direction.

He is wearing Amelie’s hand-me-down Colorado shirt by All Things Bean that I used as inspiration for the tote bags. Basically, I copied.

BUT LOOK HOW CUTE HE IS? Seriously.

bday_boy

Cade is not much for parties, to be honest. He doesn’t like the commotion and he cried during the Happy Birthday song – second year in a row. Poor guy. (Amelie, on the other hand, loved it all.) Maybe next year, we’ll let Cade play trains in his “spot” and eat cupcakes for lunch in peace and quiet. That’s more his style!

Cade, we love you so much. Two years with you has been two very blessed years for us. Sniff, sniff. All of the heart eyed emojis in the world for you, my sweet guy!

Happy birthday, Cadey-Cade!