Sunday, November 7, 2010

Get ready (cause here it comes!!)

Well hellooo! Hope you had a great weekend! We did a whole lot of marching band and not much else. :)

I just finally got all of the Halloween decor down a couple of days ago. (Well, except for the orange lights out front. And the stuff I forgot in the garage. And the trinkets in the car. And the nightlight in the Bub’s room.) But other than all that…it’s all put away.  :)

And now I’m really starting to think about the upcoming holidays – and getting really excited! Our season last year was full of all kinds of bad news – my father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and then weeks later we lost my mother-in-law.

Needless to say, we just couldn’t get to everything -- it was the first year I can remember that I didn’t send out Christmas cards. I know it’s no big deal in the scheme of things, but that in particular really got me thinking about preparing for the holidays this year. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been making a list of the things I want to get done well before the end of the month!

First up…address our Christmas cards and get them ready to mail:

(Click on photos for sources.)

Guess how many boxes of cards I found in the basement last year? That would be THREE. I think we’ll have plenty. ;) Now, getting all four of us together for a decent Christmas photo – that’s the hard part.

I still hand address our Christmas cards – I actually quite enjoy it! I find it relaxing, and add in some Christmas music and hot chocolate and it makes for a lovely little tradition of my own. :)

Next up – going through the pile of toys:

OK, I may be exaggerating. Just a smidge. A skosh. Really, not much. Not at all. :)

The Bub’s birthday and of course Christmas are both in December – so we get the influx of new toys for the year within a span of a few weeks.

I. must. prepare.

I. must. prepare. when the Bub isn’t home.  ;)

Third on my list is to make a list and check it twice (wink). A few weeks ago I started a list of folks I don’t want to forget at the holidays -- there’s the mailman, the Bub’s teachers, friends and family of course. But also some folks we haven’t given to before – like the day care staff at our Financial Peace class, the waitresses at our favorite restaurant (if it tells you anything, they know us by name), and some of the great contacts I’ve made through blogging.

A few will get some of my yummy strawberry jam I made back in the summer:

strawberry freezer jam

It sure is good!! I know…I’ve already eaten a couple of the “gifts” myself.

And finally, because our kiddo is almost four and getting more fun with each passing day, I want to create new traditions that he’ll remember year to year.

I’ve heard the Elf on the Shelf can be quite labor intensive (on you-know-who’s part), but oh my goodness they are too stinkin’ cauuuute!:

the elf

Just look at that face!!

I guess he “watches” over the kids for Santa, yes? And he moves around the house every night, finding a different spot to hide. ACK! Adorable. Right up my alley baby.

And I kind of have a thing for advent calendars. Last year we got this cute Lego calendar:

2824-0000-xx-12-1

My friend Richella told me about it, and even though the Bub was still a bit small, I couldn’t resist! He LOVED it.

I have a couple advent versions I’ve made and I highlighted them last year here. The little cardboard boxes are my favorite:

I love finding advent calendars you can make on your own – on a recent browsing trip through Pottery Barn Kids, we found both of these:

 

The tree is especially adorable just because it’s more than five feet tall and HUGE…but at $70, my mind immediately went into gear thinking how (relatively) easy it would be to make this one on the cheap! A huge piece of green felt, scraps of holiday fabrics and little embellishments and you could totally do this one on your own!

And Pottery Barn has a couple of advent calendars in stock, but this is the one that absolutely kills me:

Yes, because it’s pretty and adorable and a really cute idea. But it really kills me because it’s priced at $299. Gah, excuse me while I choke a little. What the what??

I know it would take some time, but some branches from a tree, (you don’t really have to use branches – how about some dowel rods?), some twine and 25 little spray painted buckets…you’ve got yourself an equally adorable advent calendar…for about $250 cheaper? Maybe?

I’d like to get my prep for the holidays done this week, so I can focus on Thanksgiving and then the Christmas decorating!! Whoooohoo!

How do you prepare for the holidays? Do you have any fun family traditions? Have you made your own advent calendar? Be sure to tell us about them or if you’ve blogged about one – link it up in the comments! We all could use a little help making the magic happen.  :)

Christmas is only SEVEN weeks away! Can you even believe it??

**You can enter the Makia Creations and HomeGoods Mom Cave giveaways until Monday at noon. And there’s still a bit more time to link up your before and after project for this month here!

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