Making Merry.

The Hoolies tromped out in the woods and chose and cut down their very own tree for the playroom.
I'm not sure if it's my age, or this fourth baby, or the move, or the schooling of two wee Hoolies at home for the first time...or the combination of all of the above..  But, whatever it is, my Christmas preparation is at an all-time simplistic low this year.

Not a whole lotta' Hooplah going on over here.
Last year, I was up to my eyeballs in hot glue, making little homemade 3-dimensional cork boards for practically everyone I knew.  I think I made about 50 of those things.

This year...not so much.

We are keeping it simple.
But, we are also keeping it sane.
And that's a win for everyone, I tell you.

But, we are also still making merry.
We're just doing it super slow and steady.
We're still doing some homemade lovelies....
And we're just doing a few (rather than whole-hog-full-tilt-crazy) of our favorite traditions.
'Cause I do love me some tradition.

So, here are a few of the things that we've been up to.
This year we are doing an uber simple Advent countdown.
Every year I try something elaborate, and every year I get to about day twelve and call it quits.

This year a little insert came in the Thriving Family magazine (which by the way is through Focus on the Family, and it's free.  It's an awesome magazine. Just call 1-800-A-FAMILY and you'll start getting them in the mail).
This says Day 1 with the first week's candle lit.  I promise we've made it further than that.  This year, anyway...
Anyway, this Advent is done through Adventures in Odyssey (another awesome resource), and it literally takes about five or ten minutes each day to do, it's very kid friendly for all ages, and for my three crazy boys that's just about the right amount of time.  I will be saving this and doing it again next year, most likely.  Just simple and sweet.

(Although, in the interest of keeping things super real - there are still days when my boys are hanging upside down and just not "into it."  But, for the most part, they are the ones initiating this start to our day, and so far this year, we've made it up to Day 19.  That's a record for us. They also like to play with fire.  That's a bonus).

We've been doing just a wee bit of cooking for friends and for family.  Really simple things that my boys can make right along with me.  One of our favorites is ye old stick a hershey's kiss or a rollo on a pretzel, bake at 350 for two or three minutes, and then smash a Christmas M&M down onto the kiss and a pretzel down onto the rollo.  Voila!  Super cute in a mason jar with burlap wrapped around it.  Joy to the world.

And since, my sisters in the law don't read my blog, I can show my little crafty crafts that I've been working on for them this year.  In the attempts to keep things simple between the siblings, we do homemade gifts for each other...which is always my favorite anyway.  Well, this year I stumbled upon an amazing discovery at our local Chez Marden's.  Or, to truly give credit where credit is due, my Daddy-O stumbled upon these treasures and knew that I would be stoked beyond all things imaginable when he told me the news.

Chez Mardens - way over in their Hardware section - was selling 150 pound empty coffee bean burlap sacks for $1.00 apiece.  One Stinkin' Dollar!!  Is that not one of the most amazing things you've ever heard?  Well, let me tell you - instantly I got my little self on over to Pinterest and found me the easiest (no sew) burlap pillow idea in the whole wide world, and I went to town.
I like mine with the original script on the bags showing.
$1.00 burlap sacks and a $10.00 box of filler from A.C. Moore (after using my 50% off coupon).
Heavenly day, if this sleep-deprived, half-brained girly can cut out a square, fill with filler, hot glue gun and stencil on a piece of burlap to make a pillow, ANYONE can!
For gifts, I stenciled people's last names or just the word "Joy." 
Super cute.
Super easy.
Super cheap.
Made with love.
My crowning least that's as crowning as I'm going to get this year...

And other than that, we've just been having a lot of fun counting down.
After all...much of the joy and excitement is found in the anticipation.
The boys cut down their own tree for the playroom.
They've been having tea parties and making cards for loved ones.
We've been secretly wrapping presents and hanging stockings.
Making epic messes cards.

And we've been telling lies.
Lots and lots of lies.
It's okay around this time of year...I'm pretty sure it says that somewhere in the Bible...
I jest.

However, there has been an itty bitty bit of lying going around to make sure things that need to stay secret are indeed kept secret.  Full confessions will be forthcoming.

I promise.

Happy Last Day of School for some!
Happy Christmas Eve for the Bookers!

It's Friday.
I'm in Love...


Jeff and Meg said...

Those bags are quite the find!! I love them!!

Anonymous said...

Burlap! $1!! Awesome find! Merry Christmas! Love ya! Rachel Schwartz