Crafty Tuesday

Whoa. Did you think I totally left you over here? Nah…just trying to keep up with life. We have been doing a little crafting and I haven’t posted a thing in a long, long while so I thought I’d throw a few pics up and call it Crafty Tuesday!

First, a few months ago I decided that those old shutters that have been taking up space in our basement needed to be put to good use…or at least some sort of use. I need a little pop of color in our kitchen and also need a place to stick notes, photos, reminders, etc. So I took the hardware off of the shutter and spray painted it up. I love the result.

DSC_4249DSC_4242Which got me to thinking…I needed a board/organizational something or other for Christmas cards. And…still had this nice, long shutter sitting around…

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This time I pulled out the Christmas red spray paint…and divvied up the shutters so I had a present to send over to Birdie #2′s house and voila! Cool way to display all the cards I’m hoping to receive!

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Yes. It is looking a little sparse so far, isn’t it? And one of those cards is OURS! I didn’t design/craft our card this year. Something had to give, and these cards from Minted were so, so beautiful. Our photos totally fit into one, I ordered them and they have already been mailed. So worth the extra $ for some extra time! Except…I saved the $10 and 2 days extra time by not proofing it. Might have cut some words on the back of the card if I realized the font was going to be so tiny! Break out your spectacles if you want to read what we’ve been up to!

Anyhow, for these shutters I did use smaller clothespins and covered each of them with a bit of wasabi tape to make them just a little more festive.

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Oh, Addie and I also made an advent calendar. Well, again…found a great download from Mr. Printables ¬†and then we added it to our frame. So it was sort of 1/2 crafted by us. But we also made one for the other Voris household and the lil’ noodle’s first Christmas. So 1/2 crafted x 2 = a full craft, right? ;)

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We have a more crafts planned for the next few weeks. Might not get back to report on them, but we’ll be back soon. Happy last two weeks before Christmas!

Christmas Coma

Thought that I’d better wrap it up over here before Christmas got too far away from me. Does it feel like Christmas was weeks ago to anyone else but me? I’ve been meaning to revisit old resolutions and make some new ones since I’m very excited for 2013, but I need to get Christmas 2012 documented and packed away (just like our decorations that are finally all put up!).

Let’s see, when we last left off we were crafting up a storm to try to get all of our Boutique orders fulfilled. We did and I think Birdie #2 and I learned some very valuable lessons. 1. Stock up on supplies when they are on sale (and available!) and 2. start in about July for Christmas items. It is just a little bit too much to be trying to get orders done and our own Christmas stuff done. Lessons learned. And thankfully we are smart Birdies and we learn our lessons well…might be the hard way, but we do learn them.

And I fully realize that I’ve skipped about a dozen Crafty Tuesdays, but I will have many CTs in the upcoming weeks, so it is back on. Next week.

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(Christmas card photo reject.)

Amidst all of the boutique stuff, we had the normal end of term chaos, teacher gifts, appreciation lunches, holiday parties at school and with ballet classes and friends, Christmas cards, and a ride through our town with Santa on an old fire engine. It pays to know the fire chief. (He is one of my Girl Scout’s dad and he’s fantastic!)

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Then it was time for the grand-daddy of all Christmas pageants! Em had a little solo bit as one of the three kings. She was “really nervous” but did a fantastic job. I was really proud of her. We have the whole pageant on video…but it is far too long to put up here on the web. I’ll just post the highlights….and a few other pics, of course.

The cutest barncat in the stable.

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Our “Kings” getting into their kingly groove.

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And Em’s song.

COS Christmas Pageant 2012 from carrie voris on Vimeo.

I need to get a few other clips of some of the songs they did as a group. I love to watch Addie sing…she just belts it out and I can always hear her over all the other kids in the pack.

After the pageant, we raced home to get ready for Santa! We were frosting cookies pretty much an hour before it was time to put them out for him, but the big man did get some tasty cookies!

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And then we woke up and magically…Santa came in the middle of the night and transformed our living room from a serene scene like this…

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and this…

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To this…

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Yikes. But the best part was that it stayed that way and we stayed in our jammies almost the entire day! It was pure heaven.

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Christmas Hangover.

I just realized I did not post one picture or one word about our Christmas this year.

I am over here knee-deep in Christmas decorations that are heading back into their crates for another year and I figured I might want to write a bit – or at least post some photos – to have recorded proof that Christmas really did come to our house this year.

In fact, it came fast and furiously for weeks on end. But once the last treats were made, the last gift was wrapped, and the final carol sung in the Christmas pageant – our Christmas was perfect. It was full of family time, relaxing in jammies all day and even…gasp(!) a nap for Mama for a bit on Christmas afternoon. Exactly what we all needed.

But let’s back up a bit. After we got that pesky school stuff out of the way, we prepped for our Christmas pageant. The dress rehearsal was a little scary (isn’t it always?) but both of our angels knew their lines and were ready to go come showtime.

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Angel #1 got to join chime choir this year and she was very excited to be ringing Mama’s favorite song (Angels We Have Heard on High.)

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And both Angels sang their hearts out. Unfortunately, Addie is behind Miss Suzanne for a lot of both songs, and I’m a horrible videographer, trying to juggle around and get them in, but you can see them in two of their songs here and here if you would like. I can hear both of the girls at different points in the video, their sweet little voices. They did an excellent job…even though they were exhausted.

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(Poor tired little Em is on top middle – Addie is lower right. Yes, the little Filipino girl in the bottom left does have a wig on…strange, no?)

But strangely as soon as the pageant was over they found a surplus of energy that had been hidden and we all let a little crazy out.

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I did manage to rein my family in for a somewhat decent photo before we headed off to look at Christmas lights and prepare our stockings and Santa letters.

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My favorite street – a few blocks from us. They light up all the big trees up and down both sides.

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I would just like to add for the record that Mama and Daddy were in bed by 11pm, maybe 11:30, on Christmas Eve. We were kinda prepared and able to enjoy a minute of peace.

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And we were in bed before Santa visited, and he did come!

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I heard the girls get up at 6:30 on Christmas morning to use the bathroom, but nobody came creeping into our room. So I laid there for about 15 minutes and then got up to investigate. The girls were snuggled on the bottom bunk playing Old Maid. When I said “Merry Christmas – what are you girls doing?” – Emma said, “Well, it wasn’t 7:00 yet, so we didn’t want to wake you up – but can we go downstairs, now??” Sweet girls. I forgot to tell them that our “Do Not Disturb Mom & Dad Before 7am” rule doesn’t really apply on Christmas Day.

We all got some a-maize-ing loot.

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Em was most excited by the Wicked tickets that Santa brought the whole family. (Ok, Mama was pretty excited, too!)

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Addie pretty much liked all of her goodies – but this one from Daddy is sure to be a hit.

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The best gift of the day – there was a very elaborately wrapped box with a great handmade tag, To: Mom, From: Jelly Bean and Peanut. And the box had 72 cents. It was all the change Addie had in her purse, so she wrapped it up for me. Love those two.

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The aftermath.

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So we took our time cleaning it up, indulged in some Zingerman’s chocolate bread, played outside at the park, took a little nap, grilled dinner outside and finished the day off with our whole family in our bed starting Harry Potter – book #2.

It was a practically perfect in every way Christmas.

Holiday Spirit.

All of that Christmas music around here has paid off.

I just placed our Christmas card order.

There will be no last minute scrambling. There will be no late night assembling of Christmas cards (I know J. is heartbroken over that one!). It might not be my most creative card, but it is simplicity at its finest which is what I’m trying for this year. I really want to try to simplify the holiday craziness – so that is my goal for the next month and a half.

Who is with me?

All Christmas Music…All The Time.

Like it or not, Christmas music is here. I personally LOVE me some Christmas music, although I usually refrain until after Thanksgiving before breaking out every version of “Angels We Have Heard on High” (still searching for a really good one!). But between the girls working on a Christmas piano duet, Emma on a mission to learn her entire Christmas book by Thanksgiving (and is going to succeed, I think!), and the rehearsals for the Christmas Eve pageant – our house is alive with the Christmas tunes. Needless to say we are already dreaming of white Christmases around here.

And then I was hunting for some photos and videos for Aunt JB this week and ran across this little gem…

Even if you are not a fan of Christmas music, our lil’ Emma Grace (from back when she was only 3!) might just change your mind.

“Clap for us, Mommy!”

It all just goes by too quickly. *Sigh*

Sunday Love.

I was just thinking I’d post a list of a few things I’m loving this rainy, cozy Sunday – but then I put up some of my favorite December photos on the ‘ol Flickr account and realized this can’t be just a “list” post. I have some favorite photos from the last few weeks that need to be in Sunday Love, too.

I LOVE rainy, rainy days. Even though our roof is clearly not equipped to handle the deluge of rain we have been hit with, the rain makes for some lazy days. (We’ve found 4 leaks so far – thankfully 3 are just in the garage. And doubly thankful that there are really only 5 days a year we need to really worry about leaks.) But these lazy days have been much welcomed, and needed, in our house this weekend.

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I also LOVE the rain because it feels a little more holiday-like. It might not be snow, but it feels a little more like Christmas.
And is a bit more chilly – so we get to wear cute hats!

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I LOVE those chipmunk cheeks on Addie up there. And LOVE the Disneyland churros that her cheeks are stuffed with.

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I LOVE soccer. But I LOVE the fact this is our first weekend with no soccer since September. We had a soccer party last weekend and closing ceremonies – check and check. Emma received the “Golden Goalie” award from Coach Alain. She really loved playing goalie (I think because she didn’t have to run – clearly not my kid!) but it is very nerve-wracking when she is in the goalie box. too much pressure for Mom!

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I LOVE being the assistant coach for the soccer team. There is not nearly as much stress, or work, as there is with the head coach, but I still get some of the glory and to hear Emma say, “Thanks Mama for being my coach this year.”
Yeah, that makes it worth it.

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I LOVE that all of the school obligations are completed. Christmas programs, Christmas presents for classmates and teachers, and Christmas parties are all successfully planned, executed…and over!

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I LOVE that our house is finally decorated. We seemed to do it in bits and pieces for most of December – but it has been proclaimed “as good as it gets.” And at night when the house is all picked up, the trees and candles are lit, the fireplace is burning, and there is the smell of pine and cinnamon throughout the house…that is pretty much my definition of heaven. (Mmmm…the eggnog & Bailey’s. That is a pretty nice piece of the puzzle, too.)

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I LOVE that I have environmentally conscious girls. I swear Emma demanded that she and Addie sit and cut up the netting that came on our Christmas tree before I could even suggest it – “so the fishies and birdies don’t get caught in the net!”

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I LOVE that our Christmas cards are out! I can probably safely share them tomorrow. But here is a shot from the tail-end of our photoshoot. See? They don’t always tolerate Mama’s photo-taking.

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I love that Daddy has a fun, new job that caters to the whole family (and friends!). At the tree-lighting ceremony at the studio we got to sled in the snow (yep! real snow!), meet Goofy, and meet some of the animators for Tangled. I don’t know who was more excited the kids – or Mommy.

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I LOVE that there has been a sort of backlash to the whole politically correct, “Happy Holidays” movement. We are watching football and one of the announcers just wished all of the troops a “Merry Christmas.” I’ve been consciously saying “Merry Christmas” to everyone I meet, as well.

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I LOVE Amazon. Amazon prime and free shipping have accounted for nearly 80% of our Christmas shopping this year. Even though I love wrapping gifts and have had to begrudgingly rely on friends wrapping gifts for me (or will be wrapping like mad when I get to Michigan!), there really is no better deal around. Plus, no waiting in line at the post office.

And lastly, I LOVE that we are in such a good place right now that we can truly enjoy all the sweetness that Christmas brings this week.

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Helpers ~ Best Shot Monday

Little by little the decorations have been trickling out.

Back when I had all kinds of time, I would be the first one on the block to get the Christmas stuff out – the day after Thanksgiving.

Now, with the appearance of children, and chaos, I’m considering it a minor victory that both trees are up and we are decorated – with twenty, nineteen, uh… eighteen days to spare even!

Although you’d think I’d be able to get done twice as fast with two extra pairs of hands helping out.

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Right. Although I do love the fact that each and every ornament went on our tree in the living room.

In the past I would have the “bottom layer” of ornaments that were deemed “unworthy” for our tree. They were either kind of falling apart or just not “nice enough” to put on the tree. But with the girls, each ornament is a treasure to behold. I think that the little tag Addie made for us that was on our present from preschool last year now has a prime spot on the tree. Whereas before? It would have been relinquished to the bottom of the box.

It is those little treasures – and the reminder to appreciate them – that truly make this the most wonderful time of the year.

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While visions of Sugarplums…

…dance in their heads.

All is quiet here.

Pageants have been performed, songs have been sung. The treats and pleading notes have been left and the stockings hung by the chimney with care. Presents have been wrapped and amazingly even Mama and Daddy are off for a long winter’s nap (at a normal time!).

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I hope you all find exactly what you want under the tree tomorrow morning.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!