Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gearing Up for the Big Day

This was a good Christmas season. Even though we didn't have an Advent bag to open everyday, we still packed in all of our favorite activities, as well as some new stuff.

As usual, there was the Christmas parade.  

Frosty and Santa were there on the fire truck, just like always:

And of course, everyone's favorite Christmas character, Ronald McDonald.  ???!!!  What the heck?!  So creepy.

Daphne and I had a camp-out by the tree one night.

And we had our Brownie Christmas party.  Woohoo!

This year, we were invited to our friend's winery where we got to see the Loudoun Hunt Club hounds and horses.  And Santa. 

This was one of the coolest things ever.  Especially for Daphne.  She didn't even really care that Santa was there.  It was all about the dogs.  I have never seen her so completely full of joy.  She was really sad when they were paraded back to the kennel.  But then she got some cider and a candy cane, and all was better.

It was extra special, because Grandma and Grandpa were here visiting, and they got to go with us.  We had a nice visit.  We were too tired to make our traditional batches and batches of real cookies, but we made one batch of slice-and-bake-chocolate-chip-embellished-with-Reeces-peanut-butter-cups cookies that we happened to see on Pioneer Woman.  Thank you, Pioneer Woman.  So easy and tasty.  Make Cookies with Grandma - CHECK!

There was a rousing game of HeadBandz, which Daphne and I won handily because Grandma and Grandpa were pretty terrible at it, and Kev...well...

...Kev was a unicorn.  Which is really hard to guess.  


There were lots of nice gifts from Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Jeff.  But it was weird not to have Jeff and the puppies there with us.  Especially since it was his birthday.  People should really all be together on people's birthdays.  Daphne got tons of American Girl stuff, and I got Finch money and Pyrex, and other nice things, and Kev got some gift cards and stuff too.  Jeff gave us some CDs and records, including an LP copy of Astral Weeks, my favorite record of all time.  Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Jeff!

Grandma and Grandpa headed home on Sunday, and we put the final touches on Christmas.  Daphne got her letter off to Santa:

We had to email him to make sure he could put us on his "Practice Route."  Most people don't know that Santa has a practice route one night early.  And if you contact him in time, you can get ON the practice route, just in case you have to, say, drive up to New York on Christmas Day.  That way, you can open presents on Christmas EVE morning and play with them all day before you have to head out of town.  It's pretty great.  It probably helps that Daphne is such good friends with the mayor.  But if you ever need more info about the practice route, I can hook you up.

So, on the night before the night before Christmas, we got all of Santa's cookies and milk ready, and carrots for the reindeer, as well as some handmade gifts that Daphne left for Santa:

Kev and Daphne went out and sprinkled the reindeer food on the lawn:

And we went right upstairs to read The Night Before Christmas and get Daphne to bed.  And Kevin and I had to get to bed too.  But not before we listened to this:

And put this in the attic:

Daphne's big gift from us was this teepee, so we set it up, hung some lights on it, and went to bed.  But you will not believe what it looked like the next morning!  Tales of Christmas magic still to come!

Handmade Holiday

This Christmas had a very Handmade vibe.  I like that.  Lots of things were wrapped in brown paper, and tied up with baker's twine and pom poms.  I love pom poms.

My friend Jill made a sweater for my coffee.  I showed Kev and said, "Look!  My coffee is wearing a sweater!"  And he said, "It was only a matter of time."  True.

I knitted a cowl for Daphne's teacher:

and this neck scarf for my mom:

And at the buzzer, I sewed three new pairs of PJs for Daphne (Christmas doggie ones below).  Sadly, they won't fit for long.

Daphne made me these fabric nesting boxes at her sewing class.

I got some handmade coasters from my friend Chris as a Girl Scout Leader gift (there was also chocolate!):
And my dad gave us this picture he painted of a barn in Manassas. 

Daphne and her cousins exchanged handmade gifts.  Daphne got this periscope from her cousin Ryan, as well as a book safe.  She made her cousin Carter a Christmas word book, some crayons she made with her Crayola Melt and Mold Factory, and an origami Ewok.

Jill and I had our second annual Marshmallow Day, which was a LOT of fun.  I still have about 100 marshmallows in my freezer if anyone would like to try some.

And I made eggnog pudding shots with tiny spoons and baker's twine.
 I made my final handmade items of the season today, one with my new drill (I LOVE MY NEW DRILL!!!):

 I took a piece of wood from our Christmas tree, drilled a hole, and made this ornament:

And there is homemade New Year's Eve Chocolate Mousse in the fridge, but I don't have a picture of it.  Maybe we will eat it with tiny spoons!

I have a few more projects in mind...maybe for next year.  I will be drilling holes in more things, and also cutting more bottles with my new Kinkajou upgrade.  And I got some Finch gift cards, so there will be more sewing.  But for now, it's back to knitting.  Something for ME.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Snow Day

Built an upside-down snowman as seen on Pinterest.

Made the Perfect Snowball.

Five Minutes Later Pinterest Snowman Fail.

Built a new snowman right-side-up.


Snow days are awesome.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Decking the Halls

Before we can put up the Christmas tree each year, I have my annual Drag Up Christmas from the Scary Basement Day while Daphne is at school and Kev is working.  I went to Pilates in the morning, and that, I think, it what gave me the strength and energy to accomplish the task.  I don't like the basement.  It's dusty and damp and home to a variety of bugs.  But it's all worth it, because the house is very festive now.  I wish it lasted more than a few weeks.  Then it will be time to Drag it Back Down.

This year, I got a little crafty and made some snow globes with mason jars.  Pretty and cheap.

My owl even got a little handmade hat.  I love yarn!

The stockings were hung, of course.

There are a couple of Nativity interlopers, but they blend in so nicely!

Finally, it was time to put up the tree that we got out at the farm.  Kev put the lights on - a job he LOVES (where is "sarcasm" font when you need it?).  And then, it was time for Daphne to do her very important job:


The outside of the house has been decked as well, and the snow makes it look even better.  You can't tell in the photo, but I got my window candles this year, which makes me all kinds of happy.

In an attempt to make things more simple this year, I asked my family if they would be OK with not doing the Advent bags.  There was just no way it was going to happen.  So, we decided instead to make a list of some of the things we like to do - things that are usually part of the bags - and just check them off as we go.  Over the weekend, we went to the craft fair, bought a toy to donate to Toys for Tots, listened to the Charlie Brown Christmas CD, picked out a new ornament for the year, and made popovers:

We also went downtown for the First Friday Town Christmas Tree Lighting, which is a story for another post.  And, Kev and I got to trek out to dinner in the snow last night.  So, Christmas is well underway this year, and I'm not going to let it beat me.  I am having a great time.