Thursday, December 21, 2017

Our Christmas Card {2017}

Without further ado, here is this year's Christmas card!

This year I ordered them through Photo Affections, and I was SOO impressed how they turned out. I found a Groupon that got me 70 cards for less than $30! I was a little skeptical about the quality...but once I got them, I can honestly say I think our cards look just as great as those from Minted or Tiny Prints! Can't recommend this company enough! (And no, they are not paying me to say that...also, I didn't get my cards from them for free.)

Because you know I have entirely too much fun addressing Christmas cards, here's how I addressed them this year:

My sweetest friend, Chelsea, so kindly offered to take a few photos for us back in November. Here are a few more from our photo shoot! (Thank you again SO much, Chels Bells!!!!)

I also asked Ella the same Christmas questions as I did last I'll include her responses here ;)

What is on your Christmas list? Talking Chase {this thing}

What is the best part about Christmas? Decorating a Christmas tree

Where does Santa live? In the North Pole!

What are the names of Santa's reindeer? Rudolph....I don't know Rudolph's friends.

What do you think Santa's favorite food is? Cookies! Do you know what reindeers like?! Reindeer food with glitter in it! {She just made reindeer food at the Y this morning.}

What will Santa bring Mommy and Daddy for Christmas? Um, clothes. 

I hope you all have the very merriest Christmas!!! 

Past Christmas cards: 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Favorite Things Parties

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending not one, but TWO favorite things parties!

If you've never been to a favorite things party, here is how it works:

You are basically Oprah (but poorer) and your job is to gift one of your favorite things to a few friends!
You spend a certain dollar amount, and buy the same gift a certain number of times. When you get to the party, write your name as many times as presents you brought (I.e., if you brought 3 gifts, write your name on 3 pieces of paper), and put those in a container, with everyone else at the party who also wrote their name on a bunch of pieces of paper. Then, everyone also needs to put their name once into another container. This will determine the order of who gets to be Oprah.

When your name is pulled, you present your favorite thing, and then pull 3 names (or however many gifts you brought) from the container where everyone wrote their names multiple times...and those people are who get your favorite thing! 

It sounds more confusing than it really is, promise. 

By the end of the party, you will leave with a bunch of friends' favorite things! 

The first favorite things party was with my Bunco girls at Sarah's house! For this party, we agreed to each bring 3 gifts, priced $15-20 each. I brought these Lilly Pulitzer tumblers with Starbucks gift cards...because, you know I love some Lilly and I def couldn't live without my coffee! 

And I left with 3 other girls' favorite things!

The next night was Kathryn's favorite things party! 

For this party, we each had to bring 5 $5-10 gifts. This was a little trickier price point, but I managed to find these pens...and all of you also know how I am obsessed with pens/writing/addressing Christmas cards. I actually bought an extra pack for myself, because I am a nerd and needed some new pens!

And I left with 5 friends' favorite things!

Not pictured is all of the fun we had while exchanging these presents and sharing our favorite things with each other!! I kind of want to do a summer favorite things party in June or July! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Home Tour 2017

I know I just shared our Christmas decorations last year, and not much has changed...but I'm trying to avoid vacuuming today, so just humor me, will you?! 

My theme for this year is minimalism slash I-have-a-crazy-toddler-who-gets-into-everything. These decorations are nowhere near Pinterest-worthy, unless you also have a crazy 18 month old running around your home trying to destroy everything. So that's my disclaimer on these!

Anyway, come on in! 

Our wreath from last year had seen better days, and I still haven't found one I love that's not $ I'll be looking for one during the after-Christmas sales! Also, please ignore our torn-up yard. It's a work in progress! 

Our entryway is very simple, because again #tornadoLucas

I questioned my sanity when I put our Christmas tree in the kids' new playroom. But I love a Christmas tree in the front window, and there wasn't really any other great place in the house to put into the playroom it went. 

Once you turn around from looking at the Christmas tree, you are quickly reminded that this is in fact, the playroom, with Ella's calendar and all of the Christmas books! 

Back to the tree though...I just love the lights reflecting in the window :)

Heading back across the entryway...

The dining room. Which looks exactly the same from last year, including the leftover Thanksgiving centerpieces.

Now to the back of the house, where dark wood and ugly wallpaper {still} reign. 

We have this boxwood wreath up all year round, so I decided to Christmas-ify it by adding in sprigs of silver stuff I found at the craft store. 

I took the wreath we used to have above our fireplace, and hung it on top of the mirror on the other side of the room. 

Our family tree, with all of our special ornaments we've collected over the years, and our 24 days of Christmas books underneath it. 

Not pictured: this ornament that Lucas chucked like a baseball approximately 23 hours after this tree had been put up.

Our latest addition to the tree:

Ella was BEGGING for these jelly things that were in the $1 section at Target, so I finally obliged. Lucas thinks they are actually gummies and tries to eat them every chance he gets. 

In our built ins, we have all of our Christmas cards over the years!

2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 (coming soon!)

And our little countdown to Christmas...

The silver tree in the center has our Bible reading for each day.

In the kitchen, we have our Christmas cards on display! Last year, I had them on our pantry doors, but no way was that happening this year, so instead I put them on our cabinets. 

Not a Christmas decoration per se, because we have it up all year, but I love our calendar! I make them every year on Shutterfly and I love looking back at my babies the next year! 

Of course we had to make a Christmas bucket list! (See a longer version here)

Our elf, Marshall, was in the kitchen (with a note from Santa!) the day I took these pictures.

Can't forget about my Happy Everything platter and our simple wreath over the sink!

Going upstairs, no I still have not replaced that hideous carpet...but here is some pretty garland to distract your eyes from it! 

Ella once again has my old pink Christmas tree (Lucas has knocked it down twice already).

And this cute little bottle brush tree on her dresser. I want to get a few more (different sizes and colors) for her over the next few years. 

And last but not least, we have Lucas's tree, complete with UNC ornaments and lights. Fun fact: it is the only tree in the whole house he has not messed with (yet). Go figure!

And there you have it! Super simple, but its enough for us this year. Lucas, I love you dearly, but I am hoping next year you'll allow me to put up a few more decorations?!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Season Bucket List {Updated}

Christmas with little people around is seriously the best, and it's been a while since I wrote out all of the fun things we like do during the Christmas season around here. So, more for my own sake than anything's our list of Christmas traditions!
{Updated from this list!}

*Send Christmas cards

Y'all know I have a serious problem obsession with Christmas cards, so this is at the top of my list for a reason!! I'll share ours sometime next week if I can get my act together, but we sent them out last Thursday! They were organized by zip code (told ya, crazy girl right here) until someone dropped them all over the street. Hopefully the post office people were able to sort through them anyway ;)

*Have #lucasandellas12daysofchristmas on Instagram

Yes I am going this again this year! Although I may need to stop after this, because Travis said something about me having a problem with buying my kids too many clothes?! (What is he even talking about?!?!)

*Attend at least one Christmas tree lighting

This year we went to the one at Piedmont Town Center in South Park! 

*Have a pj and movies day

and along with that...

*Watch Christmas movies: Charlie Brown, Elf, Polar Express, Grinch and Rudolph

*Go to the mountains to cut down our Christmas tree

This year we went to Circle C Tree Farm! Apparently there was a shortage of trees this year, so we feel very lucky to have gotten one! 

*Bake Christmas cookies

This year I plan on making:
-Orange Chocolate Chip (family recipe, can't find online!)

*Get new ornaments to commemorate our year (events/vacations)

This was a new addition last year (we had quite a few since Lucas was born)! This year was much more low-key...we've only added one new ornament and that was a souvenir from our trip to Curacao!

*Give to those less fortunate

This year, we bought a gift for a child off of the Angel Tree at the Y. I also helped sponsor a child at the local children's hospital. 

*Visit Singing Bear Orchestra uptown

*Visit Winter Wonderland at the Ritz

*Behave for our Elf on the Shelf, Marshall

That darn elf! And yes, his name is Marshall, like the Paw Patrol character (guess who named him that). So far I've remembered to move him. Only 16 more days to go!

*Attend a live nativity

Ok, so the church that normally does this isn't doing it this year! Sad times. So if you're in Charlotte and know of anywhere we can see a live nativity, please let me know!!! 

*Go to Gingerbread Lane at Ballantyne Resort

*Visit "the real Santa" at Black Lion

*See Santa at our neighborhood clubhouse

*Read part of the nativity story each day

We follow this schedule and read out of this Bible. I think it is a little bit easier for kids to understand than other translations!

*Go on our neighborhood hay ride

Last year I promise Ella loved it, even though she looks miserable here! 

*24 days of Christmas books

This is a new one this year and my kids are LOVING it so far. I had tons of Christmas books from my teaching days (sadly, way more than 24!), so I wrapped some of them up and every night before bed, Ella gets to chose one to open and read. I wrote the titles on the back of each I can save a certain book for a certain day (i.e., we will be reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve).

*Attend a performance of The Nutcracker

*Drive around to look at Christmas lights

My friend has an amazing list that she sent me last year. If you're in Charlotte, my favorite houses are:
*12725 Long Cove Drive
*10223 Summer House Court
*1007 Mapesbury Lane
and my favorite...
*7323 Sherwood Forest
(the owner dresses up as Santa, hands out candy canes and donates to St Jude's!)

*Christmas Eve: Church, book and new pajamas

This year Ella is getting these pajamas and this book; Lucas is getting these pajamas and this book!

Whew! Are you still reading?! That was quite a list....but let me know if I forgot anything!!