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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Decking the Halls

This year I was determined not to spend a penny on Christmas decorations. Well, besides the money I've already spent buying fabric to make stockings for the kids. (Update: that is SO not happening in the next 7 days.) So given that restriction, we have a half-lit tree (curse you lights that go dark in the middle of the night!) a half-lit garland around the front door and several other half-decorated rooms in the home. But I'm going to show you my newly decked halls anyway.

I just wasn't feeling the tree skirt we've had for the past seven years so I begged my sister to loan me these coffee sacks she had laying around her basement. Score!

Even if it's only 2/3 lit up now, there is something magical to me about walking out of my bedroom in the dark winter morning and catching a sight of this twinkling tree. It ain't fancy (exhibit A: coffee sacks above...) That's not really how we roll. Ours is covered in meaningful and handmade ornaments from mine and B Daddy's childhood as well as a rapidly growing contingency of sticker-laden and crayon-adorned construction paper beauties by Squirt and Sweet B.

Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care - only 4 this year because I bailed on the stocking project. (But my fabric is SO cute, maybe I'll show you in March or April.) Blue Eyes will have to share. Seeing as how the only thing in his stocking will likely be a toothbrush, that should work out just fine. 

I LOVE having a mantle to decorate!! This is only our second year with a mantle and because the TV sits so low on the wall, I don't have room to go crazy, but the evergreen branches were free and I love the natural look. I always snag as many cast-offs as possible (with permission) from wherever we buy our tree and then scatter them around the house wherever we could use their amazing pine scent and Christmas cheer.

Our Christmas cards are hung from this shelf right above the couch where we can all see our sweet family and friends smiling back at us. I LOVE ME SOME CHRISTMAS CARDS. If you're reading this, please put me on your list and send me a card. I. love. them. They stay up year round to remind us how blessed we are and to remember to pray for y'all. I mean, you know you need it.

This little baby was a great-grandparent crafty gift FAIL. It looks okay up on a high shelf, but up close it's a hot mess. Ah well. We'll keep it and send pictures of the kids like we always do instead. 

Jingle bells on the playroom door help me keep track of the rug rats AND look festive. Bonus points.
Of course the nativity gets a special display spot front and center. This version is from Southern Living at Home. I have another Willow Tree nativity that is beautiful as well, but this year I lost my will to decorate a bit and the Southern Living one made it out of the attic first. Does anyone have a kid friendly nativity? I was dying for this Little People version, but $57.95?? Cough cough. I think my kids can just continue to look and not touch for a while.

Christmas books brighten up and "seasonalize" the bookshelves.

 Some rosettes made out of scrap linen fancy up this fake wreath just enough for the dining room.

I love Christmas cards so much I keep and display ours from years' past in a shadow box. What happened to those little babies!?! 

Whether your Christmas tree is real or fake, a 12 foot behemoth or a table-top tiny, full of twinkling lights or maybe only 2/3 lit...we hope your holidays are merry and bright this year! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gift Guide for the Mama Bear

If y'all are anything like me, you're deep in the throes of holiday shopping right now and probably still searching for a gift or two to round things out. I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring with all the other gift guides that are popping up to give you a few ideas for the Mamas in your life. I think any mama aged 25-55 would absolutely love to find something from this list under the tree or in a stocking this Christmas.

Essie nail polish
I adore a neutral nail.  Essie is great quality polish and super affordable. Buy her a duo so she can do this one-glittery-nail manicure - so very cute!

Mossimo boyfriend tee
I have two of these shirts and could easily wear them every single day. I usually wear a small/medium, but bought these in large for extra comfiness. It's soft and drapey and perfect for going to the park, out to lunch or doing laundry. The striped version also hides spit-up well. ;)

Cable Drop cord holders
I am constantly digging under our bed when my iPhone cord falls off our bedside table...problem solved with these little bad boys. I imagine most people would love having one of these wherever they most often plug in their phone.

I've personally been coveting this candle for a while now. I love the packaging and it's gotten rave reviews on Amazon. I find it strange how much I love tobacco in a candle.

We listen to Pandora like it's our job around here. B Daddy loves the Mumford & Sons station, the kids are into Raffi and my Frosty the Snowman station these days and I love me some Passion. It'd be oh-so nice for any music-lover in your life to ditch the commercials for a whole year! 

Baby necklace 
A friend bought me one of these necklaces after Blue Eyes was born and I get compliments on it all the time. A perfect gift for the new mom or new grandma in your life!

Need I say more? If the mom you're shopping for has little kids - give her the gift of your time. Offer to watch her kids on a Saturday morning or a weekend night.

Custom-made return address stamp
These custom-made return address stamps are so stinkin' cute! We have a really really functional return address stamp right now and I would love to add a bit more personality to my snail mail - wouldn't everyone?

Everyone looks good in a scarf and a bright patterned scarf like this can make even the most basic mom-drobe look instantly polished. (So I hear...) 

So there you have it. What's your #1 gift recommendation for mama bears?? Happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sweet B Turns 2

 Balloons, family, cake, presents, bubbles. I'm convinced a good party needs nothing more. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Quick Update

Sorry for the lack of excitement in this space over the past month. I've been a really lazy blogger. Turns out at nap time lately I'd rather read a book (House Rules by Jodi Picoult...thanks Sara!) than sit down with my computer and fill y'all in on the Crazy Joy news.

But I always feel decidedly optimistic on Mondays, so I'm here at 6:45 to catch you up before the sun rises and the babes awake.

We had an amazing Thanksgiving. You know it's my very favorite holiday. This year did not disappoint. The entire paternal side of B Daddy's family (and his maternal grandparents too) gathered together at his folks' home for the long weekend to eat, drink and be merry. What a gift it is to marry into a family you like to hang out with! We fried a turkey for the 4th year in a row. It was finger lickin' good as always. We even snuck out one night to catch the new James Bond, courtesy of my patron saint mother-in-law, who watched the bambinos.

This past weekend we mourned with the rest of the Bulldog Nation as our beloved Dawgs lost a hard-fought battle against the Crimson Tide. What a game!! We watched with the kids, which was highly entertaining. B Daddy and Squirt perfected their touchdown dance...

And did you catch that lighted tree in the background? That's right. We're on top of things over here. The 1st of the month and we've got a tree, a nativity and some garland over the mantle. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! My mission this week: plan and execute a birthday party for a certain little girl  who's turning 2. The big day is Friday and the party's on Saturday. With any luck you'll see pictures next Monday!

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