And since the wonderful Christmas season is upon us, I thought I'd share some of our holiday preparations. This really is my favorite time of the year. I think more because of all the extras than the actual shopping and wrapping and receiving. I like the decorating (even though Saturday our house REALLY looked like a hurricane of Christmas crap had hit our house) and the trips to Michael's Craft Store to boost extra nooks and crannies with holiday cheer. I am excited to make our Christmas cards (not so much about getting a good Christmas picture of all of us), and I can't wait to start delivering the goodies to our close friends and family. I check my mail for new Christmas cards and am thrilled when there's a letter or update WITH a picture. Does it get much better than all that? Oh no, it's better than all that. Cuz, yeah, there's hot chocolate, Christmas lights, nightly Christmas stories, turning on the fireplace, the end of soccer season, cooler weather, the cousin's party, ward parties, work parties, surprises, and anonymous gift-giving.
Monday night the kids helped Tyler put up phase 2 of 3 for the outside Christmas lights. They were really excited, especially Kenzie, to help Tyler plug in all the extras. This year we have the hall of light-sicles in our entry way which looks really awesome. I'll take pictures when phase 3 is complete (only Mackenzie and Tyler get to know what that is and when it will take place.) The kids do the important jobs like cover the wires with rocks and throw away the boxes and they love it! He's SUCH a good dad with tons of patience to take on such a huge project like that with the kids.
Here's a few pictures of the things I have made so far for this season. I made the heinous ornaments for an ornament exhange party. I had a different vision for them, but they didn't turn in so cute. I beaded around the middle and added the "squanto" (poinsetta) flowers. The Christmas tags are for the 12 days of Christmas later this month and they turned out cuter than I planned. And, I actually baked some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Yeah, made those suckers and didn't buy them. That was a huge Christmas gift to those who got them (Tyler's home teaching families and our kids!) They kinda look like big piles of poo in the cupcake wrappers, but they're good. AND, I'll confess, really easy to bake. But still, I'm tootin' my horn.
And here's some of my decking the halls. I am a little addicted to snowmen as they're pretty much the cutest Christmas decoration and am happy to have branched from one niche to the top of my kitchen cupboards. You can't really tell in the pics, but there's lights and it makes the house all glow-y when I turn off the main lights at night, but leave the Christmas lights on. I LOVE that part of Christmas.
My Michael's fettish has manifested itself this year in the fake flower department for my empty vases and baskets.
And here's the mantle which I would like to turn into my Santa spot. I do have a hard time finding cute enough Santas, though, compared to all the cute snowman. Oh well.
The first thing I do, though, even before the tree (which has yet to be finished) is the shelf with the nativities. I really admire some of the beautiful hand-crafted creches that are available, but for the most part we have little mini collections. And several of those have suffered casualties. My precious moments (it's glass from our first Christmas together) one has lost all the wise men (they were decapitated last year . . . it was very tragic.) My mother-in-law gave us this cute plastic precious moments one with a stable and everything and since pulling it out Saturday we have lost Mary, Jesus, the manger, an a bale of hay. We still have Joseph and a shepherd and two of the three sheep. Oh well, I'm sure they'll turn up in August or something.