Monday, December 29, 2014

12 Days of Christmas 2014

I thought I would share our 12 Days of Christmas.  We have done this for the last few years and have really enjoyed doing some special things together as a family at this time of year.  We started 12 days before Christmas Eve, which is different then we have done in years past, and completed our 12th day on Christmas Eve.  Here is what we did this year.

1 | We opened the Playmobile Nativity set.  (This was a big hit!)

2 | We popped popcorn and watch a Christmas movie.

3 | We opened this book and read it together.

4 | We opened a package of clay and made ornaments together.

5 | We opened Christmas window decals and decorate the windows together.

6 | We planned to open little scrapbooks that I made for each of the kids.  (More on these later.)

7 | We planned to make cards and special gifts for our Great Grandma.

8 | We planned to go to Peacock Lane (a fun street in Portland where all the homes are decorated with lights for Christmas) but we didn't actually make it.

9 | We made treats and delivered them to our friends and neighbors.

10 | We took a walk and bought some hot chocolate.

11 | We opened a new game and played it together.

12 | We opened Little House season 5 (we have been working our way through the series over the  last few years) and have been enjoying watching it during the Christmas break.  

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting my book spending habit.

Living Simply | A Simplified State of Being

This last summer, as most summers go, was busy.  We were able to follow our summer schedule, letting go of it when needed, and kept pace with most of our planned and unplanned family events.  We had some wonderful moments shared and exciting milestones achieved.

Towards the end of the summer I found myself with a few uninterrupted hours of free time.  I was so excited and beside myself with what to do.  The funny thing was, I was overwhelmed with all that I could do, all that I wanted to do, all that I thought I should do, and ended up not really doing anything at all.  Though I had worked hard to somewhat simplify my home and my schedule, my mind was still a hot mess of busy, crazy, and overload.

I realized that I approached this unexpected free time with a cluttered mind and I was also approaching my everyday from this same place of distraction.  I decided I needed to make a change in regard to my state of being.  I needed to calm down.

Here are some things I have done to try to slow down this busy mind of mine.

||  I'm keeping in mind my basic, simple list of essentials that must be done everyday, reminding myself that the rest are extras, thus creating space for embracing the present moment.

||  I'm trying to slow down and be more thoughtful in my conversations with others.

||  I'm making time for daily scripture and gospel study.

||  I'm limiting my time on the internet.

||  I'm realizing and appreciating that I have done more to simplify my home and life than I had originally realized.  I'm trying to appreciate the space that all this work has created.

||  I'm trying to slow down as I work through my household tasks each day.

||  I'm focusing on creating simple moments throughout my day.  Walking down to pick up the kids from the bus, picking vegetables in my garden, rocking my baby to sleep, reading in bed at night, snuggling with my little ones, chatting with my husband, enjoying a small treat, or watering my plants outside can all be appreciated more.  I don't need to rush through and get it done, I can create the space to enjoy the moment.

Just a few things that have really helped me slow down inside my head as well as in my home and planner.  Definitely focusing on all this as we head into this new year.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas surrounded by family and friends.  We loved reading in Luke on Christmas Eve and singing our favorite Christmas carols.  The Christmas Eve jammies were a success.  Christmas morning came early since I was up late and also up during the night with our dog and our 2 year old.  We had a yummy Christmas breakfast, Steve made his traditional biscuits and gravy.  Stockings were shared and gifts were passed.  I loved my little gifts from my children, a tube of chapstick, a bar of dark chocolate, a big hug.  Such sweet gifts.  Later in the day we headed over to spend Christmas evening with our family.  I love watching and knowing the my kids have lots of cousins that they absolutely adore.  These kids of ours are getting so grown up, it wasn't that long ago that they were all so much younger.  

Such a wonderful day celebrating His birth through gifts, family, friends, scripture, service, song, and food.  Celebrating the glorious birth of a Babe that was born so long ago, that changed our world forever.  

Jakob's 2014 Book List

I thought it would be fun to share books that my 11 year old has read this last year.  

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angel 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Danny the Champion of the World

The House with a Clock in the Wall by John Bellairs

39 Clues Series by Rick Riordan

39 Clues:  Cahills vs Vespers Series by Rick Riordan

39 Clues:  Unstoppable by Various Arthors

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Superfudge by Judy Blume

Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi

Davy Crockett by Richard Bruce Winders

Sparrow Hawk Red by Ben Mikaelsen

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Harry Potter Books 1-4 by J K Rowling

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Caroline Funke

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting my book spending habit.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gift Making

The making has been so enjoyable this season, filled with later then normal movie nights while I have stitched and knitted and crafted away.  Dreaming of collections of gifts to gift to friends and family has been so lovely this year.  I started this fall to give myself plenty of time to finish and no last minute rushing.  Cross stitching is something that I could do all day.  I just want to stitch and stitch and stitch. It has been years since I have indulged in this favorite craft and I have found this time of  year a perfect excuse to do so.

I collected favorites to gift to my mom this year.  Lots of neutrals, handmade items, pretties, warm and comforting items.  A glittered H ornament from Pottery Barn Kids, a handmade cross stitched H and reindeer (more on these later), a blanket from Ikea, a scarf from Forever 21, a handmade yarn wreath (like this one, but smaller), A Year of Mornings, a scrabble H (my mom loves scrabble), some salted covered cashews, and some lemon curd from Trader Joe's.

I also participated in a gift swap and packaged up a little collection of items to a new to me friend in London, England.  The gift swap was through Oh Comely and is called The Perfect Strangers Project.  This was so fun to participate in.   In my package I included another yarn wreath and a couple cross stiched items, some dark chocolate, some festive clothes spins and wooden dessert spoons, a collection of gift tags, a knitted cowl in my current favorite yarn, Dan in Real Life, a bottle brush, a little crocheted lace, and some grey and white notebook. She sent back some fun candies, some gorgeous Santa napkins, some dishcloths, some herbal tea, and a list of her favorites books.  

Tis' the season for gift giving and the like.  I have loved putting together some of my favorites things with some handmade items and gifting them.  A recipe for fun and festivity.  Hopefully the recipients feels the love that has gone into these little bundles.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Home Tour 2014

Here is a tour of our home this Christmas season.  Lots and lots of photos.







Find our everyday home tour here.