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Monday, December 24, 2012

24th Day of Christmas

The Littlest Things Make Magic

Me: Morning Matthew.
Matthew: <Looking to find Daddy, then crying when he realized that Daddy is at work.>
Me: I miss him, too!  I wish he was home with us. Don't worry, he will try to be home earlier tonight.
Matthew: (perking up after realizing what today is) It's Monday and tomorrow is Christmas!
Me: I know! It's so exciting! What do you want to do today?
Matthew: I want to go to the park to play in the sand.

Fast forward through early morning Mommy and Matthew hair cuts, picking up lunches to take to the park, chatting about our day in texts with Daddy...

Huddled together at the park (It was chilly!) eating our take-out lunch and who pulls up to the park to surprise us at 2 pm? Daddy! He said he'd been 'following us' since our hair cut pic/text. At one point, I remember him texting asking, "Where are you now?" but I was driving so didn't answer it immediately.  I remember thinking he must have been lonely at work and was just asking to be connected with Matthew and I. When we arrived at the park, I texted a pic of Matthew and I eating lunch. Minutes later, he pulled up.

It is the littlest things that make magic.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Matthew's advent activity for today was to build a gingerbread house together with Mommy and Daddy. He was excited to do it but even more excited when he saw that it was a gingerbread train.

A gingerbread train? This would be minor detail to most...a major deal to him.

We have Christmas Eve dinner at my Mom's house so we took the gingerbread kit along with us. It was the perfect place to put together. Matthew had a little bit of help from many hands.

Family was the magic of my evening. 

Where do you find magic?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

23rd Day of Christmas

Lazy mornings...are good. 
Lazy family mornings...are sublime.

Sunday morning, we all slept in. As soon as Matthew woke up, he climbed into bed with Daddy and I.  We laid there chatting and enjoyed the quiet of the morning. Peaceful. When we finally got up to start the day, I needed to run some errands with my Mom.  Matthew and Daddy decided to stay home together.  I picked up my Mom and we were successful finding what we needed and the last minute shopping crowd wasn't so bad. We had a great afternoon together.

Sunday evening ended with Matthew, Daddy, and I relaxing on the couch together. 
Gilbert...the perennial beggar!
Seems so simple, but we don't get enough time just relaxing together.
Do you get enough time with your family?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The 4th through 22nd Days of Christmas ...

Here's what we've been up to...

With a little help, Matthew selected a 5 year old boy's request from the Angel Tree. The request was for a pair of shoes. For an added smile, we tucked a Hot Wheels car inside each shoe.
Trying out the Angry Birds Helmet ~
because you never know when you'll need it.

Angel Tree~ Mission Completed!

Matthew made a picture for his grandparents, whom he affectionately calls Nanay and Tatay because that's what everyone else calls them. =)
He created a picture for his Grandma and delivered
it with a package of Gingerbread flavored coffee.

We watched special, sparkling night-time parachuters land.
What an amazing night!

We made lefty-hand prints!

We ate dessert before dinner. Oh the silliness!
He was tickled by the thought!
Matthew made Christmas cards for all 6 of his preschool teachers and aides. We've danced, we've splashed in the rain, we had a pajama party and baked cookies, we've had family movie nights cuddled on the couch, we've recreated Christmas songs with our own lyrics that make no sense at all...
we're taking the time to enjoy Christmas together.

Merry Christmas.

Are you spending Christmas in a way that fulfills you?

Monday, December 3, 2012

3rd Day of Christmas

Tonight was Matthew's Christmas program at his preschool but he didn't get to go because he's sick. He missed school and spent the day cuddling with Grandma. When he got home he went straight to the calendar and asked, "What's today, mama?" 
On the 3rd day of Christmas, Matthew created a card for the little girl next door. He was a bit surprised that the calendar had the neighbor's name on it, "Hey, how did they know her name?" ;)

We got busy and made a card, stashed a few chocolates, and a candy cane in a festive little box and left it on her door step. He  was so excited to leave it on her doorstep for her to find.  

There really hasn't been any"thing" for him on the calendar (yet). There are a few things on his "adventure" calendar that have a prize for him along with his "adventure" task but so far he's just excited to see what each day brings. <3 

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 2, 2012

1st and 2nd Days of Christmas

Since this the first year Matthew has an advent calendar he just wanted to open all the presents on it. We told him he could only open one a day and that they were to celebrate the countdown to Christmas. We tried explaining that they weren't "presents" but more like things to do together. Anyway, he is calling this his "adventure" calendar.

Let the adventure begin...

On the first day of Christmas we made the classic chain to countdown to...
...New Year's Eve.
...New Year's Day.
...Matthew's 5th Birthday...his 5th birthday is the year that he says he will eat apples...(that is another post lol).

Proud teacher-mama watching him cut along the line. Such skills!

Good times.

On the second day of Christmas Matthew was supposed to learn about the Angel Tree program and head to the store to select an Angel and buy something. But our lil man-cub has a stomach bug. He hasn't held down anything all day (and he hasn't been eating or drinking much). So today, we spent quality time cuddling on the swing in the backyard until he fell asleep. Today was a sunshine vitamin D day. We'll take care of the Angel Tree donation when he feels better.  
Feel better man-cub.

He did eat the Hershey's kiss in today's package.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

31 Days of Christmas

Reflecting on Christmas seasons of years past...

Each year, when December rolls around, I have many thoughts and plans of how I want to spend the Christmas season. And each year, when I wake-up on January 1st and reflect on the holiday, I realize that my time wasn't spent doing as many of the quality family things that I wanted to do. There was certainly quantity (hustle and bustle) but not enough quality.

This year will be different.

I want to wake-up on January 1st, 2013 with the feeling that I was my best this Christmas season. I want to feel like I spent my time doing quality things with my family instead of feeling like I need to recuperate from the hustle and bustle.

How does this shabbytrashycrafty Advent Calendar have anything to do with spending the Christmas season filled with quality family time?
Our advent calendar is filled with activities that we thought would give us quality time together ~ making the most of each day~ in the true spirit of Christmas.

Here is what we have on our calendar... We printed a few extra 'just in case'. The cards were put inside one of the containers and some of the them have a Hershey's Kiss inside. 

Make a chain to count down the days to Christmas.
Learn about the Christmas Angel Tree and buy a gift to donate.
Have a pajama party and watch a   Christmas movie while snuggled on the couch in Daddy’s blanket. Snuggle with Mommy and Daddy.
Roast marshmallows and sing Christmas songs while wrapped up in Daddy’s blanket by the chimnea.
Make cards for your Pre-school teachers.

Pick-up Grandma and drive around to look at Christmas lights. Everyone should wear their pajamas and bring a snuggly blanket to cuddle. We’ll bring hot (warm) cocoa to drink!
Call 1 family member and 1 friend to wish them a Merry Christmas!
Bundle up and watch for shooting stars. Snuggle up and cuddle with Mommy and Daddy!
Decorate a gingerbread house.
Go bowling and wear Christmas   colors.
Read a Christmas book together.
Make paper snowflakes and hang them on the tree.
Have a pajama party and watch Polar Express.  Eat buttery popcorn and drink hot cocoa! Ask if you can invite your cousins and a friend.
Make Christmas Cookies.
Paint or draw a Christmas picture for Grandma.
Send gifts to your cousins in Chicago.
Pick a few things from your collection of toys to donate to kids who are less fortunate.
Make handprint and footprint ornaments. Give one to  each Grandparent.
Paint or draw a Christmas picture for grandparents.
Invite Cousins to drive through   the Festival of Lights. Everyone should wear their pajamas and bring a snuggly blanket to cuddle. We’ll bring hot (warm) cocoa to drink!
Go grocery shopping to buy food to donate to the food bank.
Mail a Christmas card to a soldier.
Draw a Christmas picture for Grandparents.
Play music and dance with Mommy and Daddy. Get silly!
Make a Christmas picture for your neighbor and leave it on her door with a candy cane.
Get dressed-up, go to the mall and get your Christmas picture taken.
Get silly! Eat Christmas cookies first, and then have dinner!
Attend a special Christmas church service.

So why the 31 Days of Christmas?
Because this year will be different.

I'm not sure what we'll do after the 24 Days of Christmas on our advent calendar, but I do know we're going to create a countdown to the New Year~ 2013. This way, my family and I will send 2012 out with a true bang ~ we'll create our own new New Year's Countdown tradition ~ and I will wake-up on the first day of 2013 feeling fulfilled that we used our time in the name of family and love...quality.

What do you want to do different this Christmas? How will you make it happen?

Here we go...

On the day before the first day of Christmas, 
my true love and I 
made an Advent calendar for our man-cub.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Somehow, I volunteered to host Thanksgiving.
You know those conversations. You walk away squinting wondering if you just volunteered for something or if you were elected (elected without actually running for anything). Either way, sick excited and nervous butterflies fluttered in my belly at the stress anticipation of the big day.

Thanksgiving was beautiful no matter how it came about that we were hosting it at our house. From the beginning of the break from school on Wednesday to Saturday afternoon when we were still washing dishes, it was beautiful. And to be honest, as the hosts our job was rather limited compared to the actions and help of others. Chairs, tables, and other outdoor furniture made its way to our backyard with the efforts of loved ones. Beautifully starched table cloths made their way to the tables through no effort of mine. Pretty borrowed place settings didn't magically appear on the tables on their own, each was placed with care (although we did break two expensive butter dishes! Seems like an oxymoron, I know). Loved ones prepared food that overflowed the counters, tables, and refrigerator. Then in the aftermath after glow of the meal, dishes were washed by smiley faces chatting,  filling the air with overstuffed wallowing glowing spirit.

It was a beautiful day even if I was elected.
It was a beautiful day filled with the people we love most.

Tables, outdoor couches, settees...Thanks Mom, Big Chris, Armon, and Andy.

 Susanna ironed every table cloth.

Candace set the tables. 

 It was Andy's idea to try lining up all the tables to see if they'd actually fit. It worked! Dream set up!
Beautifully done.
The 'ideal' Thanksgiving wish for me has always been to have the tables lined up with everyone sitting at the same table. You know, the kind of set up you only see on tv or in the movies but nobody in real life has that kind of space to make it happen. 27 people is a lot of people to fit in any house. Thankfully, the southwest affords us the luxury of Thanksgiving outside.

The only thing that would have made my day better would have been warm food and more than a fleeting moment to sit down and relax and really be with my family. Either way, it went off without any major catastrophes. And besides, I have it planned out for next year if I'm elected I volunteer again. 

Do you have a vision of what an 'ideal' gathering would look like if you hosted it? Be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or ? What do you envision? How will you make it happen?

I owe my niece Candace, a gargantuan THANK YOU for all the work she put into helping prepare for the family Thanksgiving. She chopped, she stirred, she mixed, she sprinkled, she boiled, she baked, and she did it all while smiling, laughing, and chatting away the day. Several times, she said, "I can't wait for tomorrow!" For me, it had become something to prepare for then clean up after. But after spending all day Wednesday (seriously all day, sun-up to long after sun-down) with her, I was feeling excited too. Not to mention, she kept me from wandering aimlessly into the street as we made our way to the store with our final 'list'...tired but accomplished.  We made a good team.  We made wonderful memories. Thank you Candace. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Adventures in Balance

Spent quality time with my BFF

My sister found 2 FREE chairs and foot stools for my back patio. 
Only one problem (if you could call it that)...
No cushions!
So I made problem!
Overcast days never turned me on (Prince) or took good pictures (me).

Refinished a desk for my lil man-cub. A left handed desk for my lefty!
Before...institutional beige

After...eye catching RED...
with chalkboard painted top!
Made upcycled lanterns
Started container gardening...

Flowers up top, garlic down below

Chives up top, ornamental gourds below

Green beans...
not shown...romaine lettuce, cilantro, strawberries and flowers.

Friday, June 15, 2012

First blog post of 2012 is NUTS!

My BFF Kathy recently asked me, "What happened to your blog?" My response? "Life happened. I got busy with school and didn't have time to update it." I guess that was an acceptable answer because she didn't ask any more questions. 

I reflected on her question and my answer. I started blogging during a break from school. Blogging was supposed to be my effort to release my inner-self~ an outlet~ a chronicle of craftiness, baking, running, and writing. Admittedly more baking posts than anything else, so far (Yum). My intention was to blog to help balance the scales of being a wife, mother, teacher, writer, and wannabe runner. I intended to keep working on it each day, week, or month ~ intended to. Ahhh, good intentions and the road. What's that saying? The purpose of blogging for me, was to find balance. That did not happen. Plenty of intentions, not enough effort

Here it is June of 2012.  To start off the first post for 2012 (Did I mention, it's June, already?!), I give you the gifts I made for Father's Day. My sister saw the framed idea on She bought wooden letters and decorated them with sparkly jewels. Since I am not the 'sparkly jewels' type~ I opted to trace the letters on scrap booking paper. I like the idea and think the project came out just as cute! 
Gimme a D. A. D.
4x6 framed prints
The lids aren't finished yet. They're painted brown (and drying).
The middle jar will hold Dad's spare change.
~Made using recycled jars~

Happy Father's Day!