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Monday, December 23, 2013

Home for the Holidays

We live on the west coast, but we have lots of family in the southeast, including James' and my parents. So for the past 3 years we've traveled to Georgia for Christmas and New Year's. It's great to get to see those relatives for the holidays, but it is also a relief this year to not be traveling during this busy season! It's also just nice to get to spend Christmas in our own home, especially with the babies. I got into the Christmas spirit early this year and we started decorating the house the weekend after Thanksgiving! Also, Calvin and Henry and I have been listening to Christmas music on the "Sounds of the Season" channel all month. I'm not even sick of it yet, LOL!

Our little tree is getting full! Maybe we'll go for a big, real tree next year.
Now even Henry has started his collection of Christmas ornaments! Here are our 2013 ornaments:

Henry's snowy owl, like his Hedwig Halloween costume

Calvin's Santa Claus, because this is the year he first got to see "Santa"

And James' and my coffee mug... because Mama and Daddy need LOTS of coffee!

I'm so excited about our new Christmas stockings! When we were deciding who should get the train and who should get the airplane, James goes, "Well, Calvin should get the train because trains came first." Ha.

Monthly wagon pic... Christmas jammies edition!

In addition to collecting ornaments, the boys will also get to collect Christmas books. This year, I picked out Dream Snow by Eric Carle for Calvin, and Christmas Peekaboo, which is a lift-the-flap baby book, for Henry.

Reading Henry's Christmas book together. 

Calvin loves Dream Snow!

Since we are staying home for the holidays this year, some of our east coast family is coming to us. My parents, my brother, and my brother's girlfriend are all coming from Georgia to spend Christmas here. In fact, Granny, Grandpa and Uncle Alex are arriving tonight! Can't wait!!

DIY Gift Tags

I'm keeping gift giving simple this year: wine for the grown-ups and nail polish for the teens/tweens! But to make it a little more heartfelt, I made some DIY gift tags which I am very proud of.

"May your nails be merry & bright!"
Cute and simple. I made the gift tags on the computer and wrapped the polishes in cellophane so the girls can choose (or fight over) their own colors.

Embellished wine bottle gift tags
I made a bunch of stickers that say "Merry Christmas," "Cheers," etc. by using fun fonts on the computer and printing on adhesive paper. (Some of them are in Tagalog for my Filipino relatives.) For embellishments, I used scrapbook paper, a snowflake punch, rhinestones and pearls, washi tape, and stickers! Now where's the corkscrew...?

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

... these are a few of my favorite things!

Confession: I watched the new live Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer at least 3 times! I don't love it as much as the original, but I still really enjoyed it and it makes nice background noise :)

Segue to blog topic: Wrapping presents is one of my favorite things! And lately I have been into DIY gift wrap. I stopped buying wrapping paper and gift bags and I just buy plain brown postal paper (it's like $5 for a gigantic roll at Target in the office section). So for the holidays, I wanted to share some ideas for dressing up brown paper packages.

Brown postal paper + white ribbon + some simple embellishments

Let it snow: For a holiday gift, add a cut paper snowflake! 

Stamp happy: I did this one with my toddler's foam stamps for kind of a shabby-chic look, but you could really dress it up with fancy stamps and ink.

Paper punches: These snowflakes are scrapbook paper cut out with a paper punch. Stickers would have a similar effect. For a more elaborate design you could layer shapes or use more than one shape/size/color punch!

Washi wonders: I <3 washi tape! So many fun colors and patterns.

If you are like me and have a stash of craft materials, even just leftovers from other projects, you can probably find embellishments in your own house. Here are a few other ideas:

- Use interesting ribbon... something fancy and chic or with a fun print or texture.
- Add a fresh flower or two tucked under the bow.
- Lay a strip of double sided tape across the package and sprinkle on glitter or confetti.
- Tape a photo to the top of the package.
- Use letter stamps to stamp the name of the recipient.
- Draw a picture or a doodle on the paper (or let your kid do it!).