quick and EASY advent calendar

what's up with the holiday season? are you feeling like there just isn't enough time in the day, week, or month? man oh man, i am. and then to top it off it's the end of the year already. what? well, we are pretty busy over here with my girl being in the nutcracker, so we are just starting to get our decorate on. the tree is up, the stockings are hung and today we added an advent calendar to our decor. i have always loved the idea of having an advent calendar. i dreamed of making this one for this year, but i saw it like at the end of november. of course, i could just buy it (not really, it's sold out), but that's no fun i want to make it. there just wasn't enough time this year, so i just bought the chocolate calendar at trader joe's that we buy every year at Christmas. but, then my clever little friend maria made this and i thought i could so make this today and i did. i know it's not from the beginning of the month, but that's ok. who says you have to start the first day of december? not me. you even have time yourself to make one of these for your home right now. you should. grab some envelopes, stamps, markers, crayons, whatever you have and get to work. it was super easy, take a look...

i stamped each envelope with something Christmas related

and the number of days left until Christmas

then i wrote on index cards one specific thing to do for that day. (see below for ideas)

i took some thick green yarn, pinned it to the wall and
used tiny clothes pins to hang the envelopes

my girl was eager to open her first envelope. it said, "decorate".

we decided that we would put up a pom-pom each day to replace the envelope she opened and make a garland as we go along.

that's it! i didn't have to purchase a thing. i had all this stuff on hand from other projects, passed Christmas', you name it. it was completely free, which is totally my style right now.
hope you all are enjoying the season and getting some craft on as well. merry Christmas!

what i wrote for the inside of the envelopes:

*draw a picture of santa
*give someone a hug and wish them a merry Christmas
*spread some Christmas cheer
*help someone in need
*explain why we celebrate Christmas
*put on some Christmas music and dance
*draw a picture of the nativity
*make a yummy treat
*read a Christmas book
*watch your favorite Christmas movie
*bake cookies
*be nice
*sing a Christmas carol
*enjoy hot cocoa by the fire
*bake a birthday cake for Jesus
*get ready to open presents


gare + heidi: a photo sequence

i am completely convinced that every party needs a photo booth or an area to take pictures of friends and family. we recently did this for my girl's 7th birthday party and i am pretty sure it will now be a tradition for every party we have. we captured some of our most precious friends and some memorable moments. if you want to view some of the fun you can go here, but for now i have to share the session i caught between these two cuties. of course, you know my little fella, but this cute little miss is his dear friend heidi. these two are truly buds. they ask for play dates with each other and they always play really well together. heidi's older sister is friends with avery and the two big kids have actually planned a wedding for these two littles. hmmmm.... i don't know if it will ever actually happen, but these photo's would definitely be a hit at there wedding. maybe someday...

i love everything about these photo's and will cherish them forever even if these two don't get married. but, it would sure be fun if they did. check back in 20 years.


easy fall garland and thanksgiving decortations

ok, so i kinda fibbed about being back around here. i really thought i was going to be able to carve out some more time for this little space i love and miss so much, but truthfully...my kiddo's are working me. and when i say kiddo's i really mean my little fella because he's a handful. whew! my girl never through me for loop like this little guy. he's just on all the time. so i've been busy friends. i know we all are busy, but those two littles are my priority and i've really been trying to keep that straight. i'm working on bed times and routines over here so i can have some free time to do this. we'll see. keep your fingers crossed for me. anyway, i've been really wanting to do this project for the last few weeks, but again just haven't had the time. i had good intentions though. we collected leaves when we went on this amazing hike. i even scoured the market for the right kind of wax, but it's not there (i think they have it at ace hardware). but, with avery rehearsing for the nutcracker and running on a few business errands with the mister we just couldn't get to it. however, today i got the leaves out and some yarn and decided to make a garland anyway without the wax. it was super easy. it took approximately 10-15 mins to tie all the leaves on and hang it up. it looks pretty good too. take a look...

the leaves hang so nicely in their natural state.

there's really no "wow" factor to this garland, but it's just a nice statement that fall has fallen.

i also did some decorating inside. a few weeks back i saw these cute thanksgiving candles at the gift shop in our library.

i fell in love with them and wanted them really bad. i just couldn't justify the purchase. which they only cost $12 a pair, but still i didn't really need them. until last week when i started thinking about a centerpiece for my thanksgiving table ( i'm hosting this year). of course, i had to go to the library immediately to get them. mind you this was last thursday. i had a feeling i was too late. when i walked in the store they had changed all the displays to christmas. my heart sank because i am obsessive (in a non-clincal way) and i needed them and nothing else would suffice. then i walked to the back of the store and saw the two pilgrims. yes! i snatched them up so quick it was probably faster than lightning. but, no indians. that's ok, i thought. maybe i could get them next year. no.... because i am obsessive i went online (i think i am secretly in love with my iphone) to see if i could find the indians. yes! i found them. ahhhh bummer, they're sold out. shoot. oh well. next year. uh, no. i searched online until midnight until i found a store that had them in stock. see, i told you i am obsessive. but really, you can't have the pilgrims without the indians. isn't that what thanksgiving is all about?

and here they stand together as my centerpiece for thanksgiving 2011 (and many more to come)

since we are on the subject of thanksgiving have you read the thanksgiving proclamation by abraham lincoln? it's amazing you can go here to read it. it's beautiful.

happy thanksgiving friends. i am truly thankful for each and every one of you and hope your day is filled with love and happiness.


my girl's 7th birthday: "crumb's sugar shack"

well hello! i haven't been here in awhile and i have to say i have missed it. you know how it is this time of year. busy, busy, busy and it seems as though the last few weeks have just been one thing after the other for us. actually my computer has been broken (my camera too). both are still not fixed, but we finally figured out a way to make it work for now. phew! i've been a little lost without the computer (and my camera too), but i am back for now. so, onto my real post...

last month we celebrated my girl avery's 7th birthday. we did it lalaloopsy style and it turned out really cute. you can check it out here for more details. one of my favorite parts was "crumb sugar cookies' sugar shack". that's what we named it, but it was actually a vintage armoire that we used for all of the sweet birthday treats. take a look...

i lined the back and shelves with material. each one being different.

two days before the party i scored with these frames from the salvation army. they were $2.19 each and i knew that with a quick coat of spray paint they would work perfectly for the "sugar shack".

i printed the word enjoy for one and cookies+candies+cake=sweet for the other on white card stock, then hot glued them to a piece of felt and attached the frame.

we gave each treat a lalaloopsy name, which added to the fun of all of it.
sugar cookies for crumb sugar cookie.

licorice ropes for lady stillwaiting.

banana muffins for sir battlescarred.

chocolate chip cookies for pillow feather bed. (i had milk too in cute vintage milk bottles, but i forgot to put them out. oh well, it was still cute).

nutter butters for peanut big top.

pixie stix for misty mysterious.

and popcorn for pepper pots and pans. i made the bags myself instead of buying the special popcorn bags. i already had these red bags from another party and just made popcorn tags on my computer. super easy and i saved a few pennies too.

i also had lollipops for blossom flowerpot and dots for dot starlight which you can see here.

my girl let me use some of her big lalaloopsy dolls to decorate with, so i placed a few in the cabinet, but you really can't see them. there was a slim shelf under the bottom shelf that was perfect to put plates, napkins and take home bags in. the whole party turned out super cute, so if you haven't already clicked over to take a look, click here to do so now.

i have a few more favorite things about this party like these two in the photo booth so check back again. i plan on being here.

and yes, we had a photo booth and yes it was super cute and fun!

p.s. if you would like to see my inspiration for this party click here.


trick or treat

trick or treat already? it's seems like it was just the beginning of october. we have lots of celebrations in october so it's seems like time flies. as you know we celebrated our anniversary
(here, here and here) and my girl turned 7,
so with all of her celebrations and her party prep (i'll be posting
about that next), i almost forgot about halloween. not really because we've been putting together costumes along the way, so i knew it was coming, just wasn't ready for it to be here so soon. anyway enough rambling about time and where it has gone because it's here and my girl is trick or treating as we speak. the little fella fell asleep so he's with me while i pass out candy and for the first time we have trick or treaters! take a look at our first halloween in our new home. oh and have i told you? i love it here!

pumpkin carving earlier today.

one of our pumpkins had pinkish colored seeds. we determined it must mean it's a girl.

my girl designed and carved her pumpkin.

the little fella's pumpkin. he made a wave. he always makes a wave when he draws.

i wanted the kiddo's to pose with their pumpkins.
for some reason garrett wanted to pose like this.

avery in costume and scoping out the neighborhood for fellow trick or treaters.

she got her candy bucket, but no shoes.

the little fella was just barely hanging on, so while we waited for our friends to come over we cuddled on the couch. that's when you know who fell asleep.

sleep won't stop this lalaloopsy from trick or treating.
she was raring to go.

happy halloween friends!


living by the seaside

there's joys to living by the sea, like the way my friend so beautifully talks about here. and then there are not so joyous times, like the way my husband experienced here. and though his story is from last year, it has happened again today. through experience brings knowledge, so a quick trip to the doctor for some antibiotics and a stop at the shake shack on the way home make living by the seaside not so bad.

p.s. don't tell our kiddo's we went to the shake shack without them. they won't let us live it down ;)


11 years and counting

if you know me then you know i love taking photo booth pictures and will do so any chance i am given. i have been doing this ever since i can remember. it has become an annual family tradition for me and the mister and now our 2 kiddo's to do this every year when we go to the fair. since the mister and i just celebrated 11 years of marriage we got to looking back at our beginning. i thought i would share them with you here today.


* if you noticed we are missing 2002 you're right. that's because we were traveling europe that summer and missed the fair. i'm pretty sure it would've looked pretty similar to 2003.

** also, we just realized this year that we had not taken a photo booth pic by ourselves since 2004 ( i was preggo with my girl avery) so, we decided this was the year to take back our photo booth pics. (well, at least one of them. after all this is the only family photo session we do a year)

*** hope you enjoyed seeing us through the years :)