Monday, December 30, 2013

A Merry and Bright Christmas

I can't believe Christmas came and went by so fast.

Our holidays kicked off with a bang! Lots of fun on Christmas eve with my dad's side of the family - food, games and movies. After our usual round of Christmas Vacation we decided to watch the movie Up after I found out my Dad, Aunt and Uncle hadn't seen it. ....bad decision. Everyone ended in tears.

My husband chided me "Why did you pick that?! Why do you like to make people cry?!"

"I thought it was a good and funny movie!"

"Yeah, one-third of it is funny, its two-thirds sad!"

I guess next year we'll stick with Team America World Police or Die Hard.

Gus relaxing before the Christmas eve chaos

Christmas morning we woke up bright and early courtesy of our little Banana Bean (hello 6:30 am).

She was excited to look in her stocking and see what Santa brought her. (A teddy bear and a little piano!)

We had so much fun watching her little face as we opened gifts. Sometimes she was more interested in the wrapping paper (like when she got clothes, ha ha), other times she was super excited for the gift (like the little push-n-ride car she got from Grandma that she is obsessed with now).

Christmas morning! A Teddy Bear in her stocking.
We had such a fun crazy day...but I was soooo bad about taking good photos. I was just too busy unwrapping and feeding people and nursing her and watching people unwrap gifts that getting any actual really nice posed photos fell by the wayside. (NEXT year I will make sure we get a yearly posed photo of her in front of the tree or something!) In some ways I guess its ok or a good thing....I'm trying to live more in the moment and not always be obsessed about capturing it via camera like I am usually so oh well.

What a great Christmas!

Her new favorite stuffie Dragon
More visit from friends and family over the days after, and then on Friday, we took her to the carousel at the mall in Redmond and she was beyond thrilled. Clapping and shrieking when she saw it and just so mesmerized when she was riding it. So much fun! And of course now, we'll have to make it a tradition. ("If I hear tradition one more time..." my hubby groans)

me and my teddy bear baby

So that was our busy week. I hope everyone out there had a wonderful and joyous holiday too!

Now its onwards to come up with goals and plans for a wonderful 2014!

But first, who wants to come over and help me take down my tree. UGH. (love putting them up, hate taking it down)


Monday, December 23, 2013

Twas the night before Christmas (Eve)....

And I have more done than I thought. Most the shopping is done, pantry is stocked, presents are wrapped, house is fairly tidy, I'm officially off work for the week now....I'm ready to let the Christmas festivities begin.

Recap of my list -
Our Christmas to do's so far: *Get pictures with Santa. (Will she cry or smile? I'm betting on cry). DONE. She didn't cry - she was pretty mesmerized by all the mall chaos that she was pretty distracted. She was so darned cute. I can't get over how much more fun Christmas is now with a little one to see it through.

First visit with Ol Saint Nick

mesmerized by the lights

Waiting in line for Santa.

 *Get pictures of her at home in front of the tree in all her Christmasy outfits
only one round of photos so far in one of her many Christmas pjs but got some pretty cute ones with a little cat photo bombing of course.

Playing with ornaments (don't you love shatterproof balls?!) and getting a kiss from Gus-Gus

*Get christmas cards ordered, picked up and sent out (Costco? Shutterfly?) errrr...missed the window for this one now. I think this will have to be the year of no Christmas cards. FAIL.
We had our first round of snow last weekend (and call me a typical Seattlite) but I don't like to drive in it so I stayed home from work and enjoyed having a fun day with my peanut

Our Gingerbread House (excuse the iphone pic)
. As a result not many errands or much done, except for some photo time of course :)
First snow

  *Take her to look at Christmas lights somewhere (maybe Leavenworth? maybe a local neighborhood? She LOVES Christmas lights) to do still
 *Decorate some cookies together. Right now she will have the most fun just shaking the sprinkles, but its a tradition for me anyways. she was a huge help ;) ha ha. But we had fun
*Make a reusable advent calendar for next year - in progress... will post pics if it gets done ever ;)
*Watch Christmas Vacation a few more dozen times ;) - me & hubby, not her done and done!
*Making some Christmas crafts and presents together like this (she's a little young for her to enjoy crafting, it will be more for me and for "memory makers" :)) not yet...maybe tonight or Christmas eve

So that's the rest of the "to-do's" - I'm taking vacation all week (and a blog break) and going to enjoy some time with extended family, friends and my husband and little girl.

Wishing you and your family a very wonderful, happy and safe holidays!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Decking the Halls: Giftbags to Wall Art

A fun busy weekend - lots of shopping, wrapping and some time for crafting! Yay!

Speaking of wrapping one of my dirty secrets...I get geeked out over really pretty wrapping paper and sometimes I buy pretty ones and want to save it all for ME. So bad...which is how I've had these two bags in my wrapping box since two Christmases ago.

The tree one looks almost like a pretty photo and its so glittery so of course I love it (its a Taylor Swift bag/design? Apparently that's a thing now?you get to design wrapping paper if you're a famous singer? I'm so out of the loop!). The Santa one is just so traditional and quaint - with its fair share of glitter for some eye candy, I just love it.  I intended to use them...but with each gift wrapping I kept NOT using the bags cause I wanted to save the for "something special".

While wrapping lots of gifts this weekend and seeing them laying there ("my precioussss"), I thought it was so stupid for me to be hoarding them instead of actually enjoying them.So I decided I'd try to use them as part of our Christmas decor! Part of the fun of the new house means we have a lot more walls and nooks to decorate so voila - more Christmasy stuff I can do!

I don't have many frames up yet, so I couldn't just swap existing pictures out. But lightbulb - I have lots of canvas, so hello! Decking the halls with my giftbags on canvas!

My mom came over and during one of Allies naps we got to crafting. We made a wreath first - she wanted something girly and unique so we got crazy with pink and purple. I loved it - what a fun wreath!

And then I got to working on the gift bags. They turned out to be pretty quick and easy! (Not to mention cheap! The giftbags were probably like $2 each, and I got the canvas on sale - around $5? I stock up on canvas frequently so I couldn't tell you the exact price *cough art supply hoarder cough*).
And now it makes me want to actually go shopping for giftbags to use specifically for this purpose for every holiday considering they're relatively cheap compared to buying art prints or even scrapbooking paper!  

Here's the details on how I made them if you're thinking of doing the same:
1. I lined up my canvas where I wanted the picture to be - being careful to avoid the holes in the bag from the handles - and then I traced it with a pencil. (Use the side of the bag that doesn't fold for the bottom. No creases that way) 
2. I used scissors to cut along the pencil lines and/or my little slide cutter (does this have an official name?). I had to trim it down a bit smaller than how I traced it so it laid more flush with the canvas edge.
3. I painted the entire canvas with modpodge.
4. I put the giftbag on slowly smoothed it out with my hand, then dabbed a little modpodge around any loose corners. Then laid it face down to apply more pressure. I let it sit for awhile with a heavy book on it so it would dry straight.
Ready to hang! I hung them up where I normally have the only two framed photos in our house (pics of Allie Banana of course).
I thought they turned out pretty cute!
Please excuse the crummy iphone photo of the "after". I'll try to get another in the daylight so you can see the finished edges.
I'm still mulling over some extra steps I might do:
1) Painting the actual picture with a glossy modpodge - this might give them more of a "finished" look and might protect them better over the years
2) Maybe put some text on each to add another layer.
3) Painting the edges of the canvas a color...or adding glitter?
So that's some of what I was up to this past weekend. Anybody else do any fun crafting? Or still decorating? (We laugh about how its the 12 Days of Decorating at our house)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Festivities and To Do's

Busy month so far with lots we've been doing (tree is up! house is decorated!) and lots of to-do's tickling around in my mind (Christmas cards asap)!

It's her first Christmas and we are soooo excited to start some new traditions and to capture all the joy and magic with her! I just love walking down the stairs with her every morning and hearing her little "oooooh" of excitement when she sees the tree. Every morning. :) Its so freaking cute.

Heading out to our first Christmas party. Aren't her boots just adorable?!
Our Christmas to do's so far:
*Get pictures with Santa. (Will she cry or smile? I'm betting on cry).
*Get pictures of her at home in front of the tree in all her Christmasy outfits
*Get christmas cards ordered, picked up and sent out (Costco? Shutterfly?)
*Take her to look at Christmas lights somewhere (maybe Leavenworth? maybe a local neighborhood? She LOVES Christmas lights)
*Decorate some cookies together. Right now she will have the most fun just shaking the sprinkles, but its a tradition for me anyways.
*Make a reusable advent calendar for next year
*Watch Christmas Vacation a few more dozen times ;) - me & hubby, not her
*Making some Christmas crafts and presents together like this (she's a little young for her to enjoy crafting, it will be more for me and for "memory makers" :))

I was able to knock out one round of homemade Christmas gifts so far: glittery hand-print ornaments!

 These would have been WAY easier to do when she was like 3 months old vs. 10 months old and all squiggly and grabby. Getting a non smeared, decent handprint was really hard. our table ended up looking like a murder scene with red handprints everywhere! ha ha. Next time maybe green handprints instead of red.

We finally got some good ones when we placed the ornament in her hand and let her hold it briefly with her hand facing her, instead of trying to press and place her hand on the ornament.

After the paint dried, I wrote her name, the year and age on it and then painted over the handprint with modpodge and filled out any gaps/made the handprint look more normal. Then I sprinkled red glitter over it.

After the red glitter dried I brushed gently with a dry paintbrush over it removing any loose glitter and then I sprayed it with a glossy sealant.

Then I sprayed the sealant inside the ball and poured white glitter inside it and shook it up. Finished up with a green wire bow, and voila! Cute little ornaments for the grandparents.

I'm finding lots of cute tradition ideas, like the ones this blog:

So fun! I really look forward to doing a lot of those when she's a little older, like Elf on the Shelf and wrapping up a different book for each night!

Speaking of books, I just have to say how much we love the "Bear Snores On" series and how awesome the Christmas book "Bear Stays Up for Christmas" is! One of our favorite series! Fun and lyrical to read, adorable illustrations and so sweet. We read this one every night so far as we don't have many Christmas books yet. You should check the whole series out!

So that's what we got go going so far this start of December!

What are some of your fun holiday traditions and "to do's" on your list?


PS - Other to do's tickling around in my mind - her first birthday party coming up (yay! eeeek,  tear, sniff) and creating a "routine" or schedule for her at home for Daddy and Grandma to follow on days they watch her. I hate tight schedules so it definitely won't be anything like that, but I know that young children thrive with I want to do some research and find some ideas for a good routine for us to aim for at home . She goes to daycare 1-3 days a week so having a routine that matches up with what they do at her daycare would be good. (Any good daily schedule/routines you've got to share? Would love to hear!)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I'm back after a bit of a blog break. I enjoyed a very wonderful 10 days of vacation during the Thanksgiving break - lots of family and fun, just a great time! (Hope everyone had a wonderful time)

I was especially excited to get to spend that much one-on-one time with my baby girl. Its the longest amount of time I've gotten to spend with her since I went back to work. (That's a pretty depressing thing to think about actually. But I'll focus on the positive - I got a whole 10 days with her!)

Allie Banana also turned 10 months old during the break. I can't believe how fast its gone by. She's a little wiggle worm of personality lately, its so incredible to watch her everyday discover something new!

Here's her "10 Month Photo", I've been doing these each month and its so fun to see how much she's changed.

We are working on getting our house all Christmasfied now - I absolutely love December and all the merriment and malarkey that goes on. Music and goodies and twinkly lights!! And now its even better watching my little one get SO excited to see all the decor.

So far we have the tree up but not to a slow start but so excited to celebrate this season with our new baby!
Everyone else off to a raring start? I got a Christmas card already from a friend and I cringed inside - because we haven't even gotten around to taking pics yet! ha ha. One more thing on the to do list.
Happy Happy Holiday!
~ K