Wednesday, December 28, 2011

still in the christmas mood

Christmas day has come and gone, with new Christmas pajamas, and hopeful looks coming down the stairs (it seems like yesterday that I was the one coming down the stairs with my brother!). Christmas eve services, candles and songs so familiar,  meld into last minute presents being brought out under the tree, and bedtimes complete with instructions on when Mom and Dad can be woken up in the morning. Christmas morning mayhem, family arriving for brunch foods that we only indulge in just once a year. More mayhem and presents and wrapping paper flying everywhere. Cookies. Lots of cookies. Rest...just a little...before the trip up to be with more family.  Gratitude that someone else made turkey and ham so that I could enjoy it! Mashed potatoes and stuffing. More cookies! Joy in cousins enjoying each other and finding that even after all the Christmas gifts, sometimes the best toy is an upside down bowl and a rattle to make a drum. Joy in being together. Joy in every single moment, really.

looks like she might take after her mommy... 
lots of Legos around here on Christmas!
with cousin Q (and cookies)

I'm still basking in the glow of Christmas. After a long and busy day at work on Monday, I have been enjoying just being home, with my family, stretching out this Christmas through the vacation week.  Heating leftover warm cranberry orange punch, sitting by the tree with a book or some knitting. Doing little crafts and reading lots of books with the kids. Eating more cookies! Cleaning up, but slowly, at a vacation-pace. Watching the Grinch steal Christmas just one more time. Starting to ponder the new year coming, and resolutions that really do need to be made this year. Holding onto the year past, just a little bit longer. This week of between is more joy, a chance to breathe, to not have too many responsibilities, to just be. In the moment. And it is sweet.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

this Christmastime...

It's Christmas week! And there is so much going on...I think it's best to give you the brief version, or this blog post will go on forever!

In our kitchen we have...
  • made umpteen dozen cookies from about 6 different recipes, including...
    • harlequins and butter cookies from old family recipes
  • assembled 4 teacher gifts:  glass jars from Ikea that I etched with etching cream from the craft store, then filled with peppermints and decorated with ribbon and scrapbooked tags
  • been reading nightly from our Advent devotion book, and lit all four candles on the Advent wreath this past Sunday
Out and about we have:
  • Gone to see a local musical production of Rapunzel with the Daisy scouts
  • Watched the boy and his 3-year-old classmates perform at their Christmas program
  • Visited with family members who weren't able to make cookies this year (gasp!) so we could deliver some trays to them
  • Visited Daddy at work to see how spring-making machines work (and the boy was totally fascinated)
  • Made a trip to the pediatrician for the cough that won't go away and girlie is now on 4 (!) prescription medications. Thankfully, she sounds terrible but doesn't feel too bad!
  • Made more than one "last" trip to the store for the "final" shopping...and its not over yet!
And all in all... we have had a wonderful, whirlwind week. We anticipate Christmas. We celebrate family. We sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. And I try to savor every sweet moment. Wishing you and yours a merry Christmas. I'll rejoin you here after the holiday to share our joy...and finally be able to unveil my Christmas crafting!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

christmas welcome

If you visit our house this winter, this is what will greet you: a fun and homemade felt wreath! I wish I could say I made it completely from scratch but I will confess that it was a kit I found at the local Joann's Fabrics. It doesn't seem to be readily available anymore online, (perhaps it is last years kit?) but I did find it at this site. It would be pretty easy to do yourself though. Basic instructions: out of about 5 colors of green felt and 1 color of green cotton fabric, cut about a bazillion 4" squares (sorry, I didn't count them). Fold each square on the diagonal, and cut 4 small slits along the fold. Weave onto a wire wreath form (made from a coat hanger would work just fine) and squish down until the wreath is full (this was a two evening project for me). Then embellish with felt pointsettias and buttons! A bright and fun way to add to our hand-made holidays.

Next holiday project: putting together the cookie-baking list!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas! Outside it doesn't feel like our normal Maryland December, with days in the 50's, and a rose crazily blooming in my yard, but inside and out, the decorations are going up around here.  Yesterday we put up the tree and decorated it, and I was amazed at how much more involved the kids were this year than previously. They really are getting big. 

with his Daddy's train, under the tree...
We also finished putting up the outside decorations, including this nativity that we made this year! It was a wonderful weekend project through our church earlier this fall, with all four of us getting involved with power tools.  I must confess that I went reluctantly...but ended up having as much fun (if not more) as anyone. My middle-school woodshop teacher would never believe it.  The nativity turned out great, and is a nice finishing touch to our yard. Its a great reminder to me and hopefully to all that see it, to keep Christ in Christmas.
Also in the works is a crafty new wreath for the front door...not quite finished but hopefully you will see some pictures here soon. Its so hard not to post pictures of all the gifts I've finished up this week...but in the interest of surprises, I'll save those for after they have been recieved!

Here's wishing you each a wonder-filled start to the Christmas season!