Landon says: material things

December 18, 2014

It’s funny when your kids pick up on things you don’t realize.  Like hearing radio ads for a local jewelry store and putting it in the right context:

I don’t wear my engagement ring very often, so when I do, Landon tends to notice and occasionally compliments it.  The other day, he was sitting on my lap and sees my diamond. He fingered the stone and asked, “Mom, where did you get this ring?  Diamonds Direct?” (the local jeweler who does a ton of radio advertising).


This year, we’ve been talking to Landon about being careful with how much is on his Christmas wishlist.  He was doing a lot of “I want this. and this. and this.” So we talked about the meaning of Christmas and the reason we give gifts is to bless others just like God gave us baby Jesus.

We’d been doing this prep in advance of his Christmas fieldtrip where they’d get to sit on Santa’s lap.  I told Landon that he needed to keep his Christmas wishlist with Santa to three items.

“Landon, you can’t go up there with Santa and start saying tons of things, you can only pick three things.”
“Well Mom, what if he says I can say five things?”
“Just keep it to three things,” I said, trying to keep it simple.
“Well, he might say two things or four things.”
“Okay. Think about the top couple of things and just keep your list short,” I reasoned.

Fastforward to the night after his field trip.

“So, Bubba, what did you ask Santa for when you saw him?”
“I said I want a garbage truck.  He didn’t tell me a number, so I just said one thing.”


I love this sweet, smart boy.


We went for the dinos

December 17, 2014

Our local Discovery Place was hosting a dino exhibit. Since dinosaurs are one of Brooksie’s favorite things right now, we decided we couldn’t miss it!  So we went for the dinosaurs…


…and ended up staying for all the other fun too!

discov3 discov2

There were beds of nails, flying newspaper tubes, building blocks, CAD programs, floating chairs and more- it was systems and science everywhere! The boys had such a fun morning. Of course we capped it off with a mini 3D movie and Brooks refused to wear his 3D glasses but watched the entire thing. I peeked at it without my glasses and it was nauseating to watch the blurriness, but I guess he didn’t mind.

Definitely a great way to spend the morning and get some energy out in the Charlotte area!


Christmas Décor: Browns and Golds

December 16, 2014

As I mentioned last week, I’m doing a series of posts around decorating projects I worked on this year.  Today I bring the décor in my mom’s house.  She has boxes and boxes of décor in many different colors, so we went into the attic, selected a few bins in gold, silver, cream and red and went to work.  We tried to go with more of the natural and rustic colors this year.  I’m sure my color palette influenced this as it’s been the focus of my house this year too. My sis, mom, niece and I each took on different little projects and they look really good when combined together.

The first pics are a menagerie of trees on her buffet.  I call it the golden tree farm. She had several different groupings of trees along with some gold faux presents she had from a previous year.  We also hung some gold snowflakes in the background with fishing wire. Sorry, these are all cell phone pics.  Quality is less than good!


Into the living room, we put some light up branches (they have battery powered lights on them) in a glass vase with some silver, gold and crème mini ornaments.  On the other side, we reused her birdcage and filled it with similar colored full size ornaments. Then in middle we wrapped her canvas print, but instead of the usual ribbon around it, we tweaked it by hot gluing some of the leftover gold snowflakes so that it would look like printed wrapping paper, but with the larger size of the snowflakes, the scale looked great. And then we added a ribbon used in the past.

As you can see the “J” in her JOY stocking holders suffered a terrible fate and is now in the trash as a lowercase “u”. :(  We all spent about 10 minutes trying to come up with other funny words with the remaining letters – Looney and Lonely were contenders, but for now it says “Noel Yo” – very holiday-esque, don’t you think?!

You’ll also see what we call the Charlie Brown tree.  My niece was a super helper on this project, putting the balls in the perfect places.  We filled the bottom bucket with pinecones and then the cut tree trunks with tea lights adds to the natural palette. (You will see one of the pics has tons of large red balls, ONE of the decorators (not naming any names) added those huge things and we took them off after she went to bed! ha!)


Finally, we hit the foyer.  There is a really cool print in the front, but it doesn’t look Christmas-y at all, so we used more of the gold paper taped on the glass, then decided to add a homegrown tree on top.  To keep with the natural theme and using what we had on hand, we used the cardboard insert from the last of the gold wrapping paper to fashion the braches. (You know how they don’t use hard rolls anymore, its just a rolled piece of cardstock?!)

We squished it flat, cut it in half and then cut strips out of it.  Because it was in the rolled shape the pieces automatically curled themselves into the perfect branch shapes. Then starting at the bottom, we just glued strips on row after row until we were satisfied with the size and shape. Easy and inexpensive way to cover a big piece of art that is detracting from your holiday style. And to gussy up below it – silver and gold bells and pinecones filled the bowl.


It took us 3 hours to do all of these decorations start to finish – not too bad considering many of them involved more than taking something out of a box and putting it on a mantel.

Decorating with my mom and sister is definitely one of the things I miss most about moving out of the house and becoming my own adult. We had a blast – making inside jokes and laughing at each other.  It really reminded me of times where we went all out with multiple trees and garlands adorning all the entryways during the holidays in my teenage years!

Related posts:

Burlap Christmas Wreath


Kid Craft: Ornament Decorating

December 15, 2014

One of the kid Christmas activities we did this month was decorating ornaments to go on our blue and silver “Frozen” themed tree upstairs.

Here’s how we did it (in pictures):



Yes, the stars turned out perfect. We even added some glitter glue a few days later to make them really sparkly like the rest of our tree!  The boys loved this activity and I had to get over some of my mom OCD-ness and just let them go for it.  Paint all over the place and all!  Don’t you just love their “mom’s old paint shirt turned smock”? If you do this, I recommend keeping with one color palette so that it doesn’t look like brown mud in the end. With a  bunch of blues, white and gray in there, no matter how they mixed, I knew it would generally end up a white-ish blue, which would look great on our upstairs boys tree!

Hope your Christmas crafting has been as fun and messy as ours!



Gingerbread Picassos

December 12, 2014

Yes, my boys are little Picassos. And their medium of choice – gingerbread. Mmmm… a tasty and sturdy option!

Another fun family activity completed!


Dean helped me assemble the frames – this was not a toddler friendly activity – as much as their little hands wanted to help and touch everything.  After naptime (3 hours later) they’d dried hard and we were ready for the decorations!


I used the Wilton’s kit from Michael’s and it was perfect because it came with four houses so each kid got to decorate two. Mom handled the icing and then the boys went to work on prettying them up:





I’d definitely do this craft again with the kids, especially because as they get older I think they’ll be able to take over the icing duties too!


Boys and their cars

December 11, 2014

My kids are big fans of anything with wheels – trucks, construction vehicles, buses, motorcycles and, of course, cars!!

We hit the Auto Show a few weeks ago and my boys (all three of them) were in heaven. There were hundreds of cars there, all open for attendees to sit in and check out. And since my kids LOVE pretend driving our cars, you can imagine how excited they were for free reign of TONS of cars.  Yes, these boys like to be behind the driver seat.

“Yeah, I make this car look goooood!”

“Checkin’ my blind spot.”

Brooks – in his head – And once no one is looking, I’m going to sneak under this rope and hop in for a test drive. (Yep, really happened. Twice.)


“It’s going to take a lot of allowance to save up for this bad boy-” (yes over $100k!)

If they drive as aggressively as they pretend drive, we’re gonna be in big trouble in about 10-15 years!


Christmas Décor: Burlap Wreath

December 10, 2014

Over the next two weeks, I’m going to post a couple of my Christmas décor projects that I worked on this year. A couple ornaments. A wreath.  Some decorating ideas.  Hopefully if you’re still working on your décor, you’ll be inspired to whip out  your glue gun and create something festive for the holiday.


First up is this Christmas burlap wreath.  I see them all the time for $60, $80 and more.  That is too much for me to spend on holiday décor, so I decided to make my own. The great thing about this wreath is that I didn’t glue any of the branches to it, so it can easily be reused in other seasons.

Maybe a pastel ribbon and some plastic eggs for Spring.  A bunch of colored leaves and a mini pumpkin or gourd for next Fall and even at Christmas next year, I can pull out the berries and do shiny ornaments or a big candy cane striped ribbon and bow.  Basically this wreath is a great base.


Pics above:

1/ I know you can buy thick burlap ribbon but it’s cheaper to buy yards of burlap fabric. I got 2 yards for $3/yd at Walmart. Then I cut it into 6 strips that were about 5-7″ wide each.

2/ I didn’t have wire to hold the fabric in place so I just used twist ties that I pulled the outside off of (so it would fit through the little burlap holes).

3/ I started by folding one end together into forths and then attaching it to the back, outside edge of the wire wreath form (also a Walmart purchase for $3-4). I attached it to the vertical wire with an uncovered twist tie wire.

4/ Then I started weaving the fabric through the wreath form.wreath2

5/ You can see a close up of how I did it, but basically I pushed the fabric through the back and pulled a loop of fabric through. Then I’d grab the excess from the back and push a loop into the next circle, so I worked my way up and down the form. Outside loop, middle loop, inner loop, then I’d do a little twist in the back and then I’d start again working the other way – inner loop, middle loop, outer loop.

6/ Every few loops I’d stop and fluff them and work on the spacing to cover any gaps.

7/ It took exactly 2 yards (cut in 6 strips) to finish the circle.

8/ Then I grabbed some fake berry garland from Michaels (on sale plus coupon for $3-4/package), I cut the berries into smaller 6″ segments and tucked them into the burlap and snugly behind some wire so they would stay in place (but not with glue or anything permanent).

And here is the final product on the front door:

wreath3 wreath

All in, it costs less than $15 to make this wreath.  I think it looks great – simple and yet festive. It also goes well with the rest of my décor which is very natural themed this year – browns and burlap.



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