Easy Christmas Centerpieces

Holidays are a pretty big deal in our household, especially Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving I begged my husband to drag out all the Christmas decorations. He did and I sat on the floor going through the boxes as he brought them upstairs and I said, “This is it?!” He responded, “Uh, yeah.” I just couldn’t believe how little we had. But then I remembered how small our condo was and even though last Christmas it felt like we had a bunch of stuff, it was really just a little bit of stuff in a little place. So what did we do?

We went shopping of course! Now, we didn’t go crazy or anything because I want to be sure to take advantage of the after Christmas sales and stock up, but we got enough decor to make it a little more festive in our home. One of my favorite decorations are the centerpieces I made. I got all of my supplies at Michael’s and it literally took me 5 minutes to make. I need a harder challenge! But look at the outcome. And even Molly approves! Love!

Easy Christmas Centerpieces

Easy Christmas Centerpieces

Easy Christmas Centerpieces Collage

Post Holiday Blues

Do you get sad when the holidays are over? I have mixed emotions because I love looking forward to family, food and fun, but sometimes I’m just glad for it all to end so I can get back into my routine… especially back to the gym to burn off all those calories I ate. I seriously think I ate my weight in sugar this past Christmas! We spent the holiday in Charlotte, NC visiting my husband’s family and there is never a shortage of baked deliciousness.

A highlight of our trip was taking off to Asheville, NC for some exploration and a visit to the Biltmore Estate. I fell in love with Asheville! I need to go back to shop in more of the quirky shops. I found a new favorite artist. She is hilarious and has an Etsy shop that I’m currently stalking. And her website URL is ballstothewallyall.com. I mean, come on?! Awesome.

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Speaking of Etsy, check out one of the gifts I got Ben for his office. I mean how cool would you be if you had a dinosaur planter on your desk?

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Pretty cool if you ask me. If you want to be cool like my husband you can get your own planter at BloominHappy’s shop. She’s not a sponsor, I just like her shop!

So what did you get from Santa? We swung by my mom and stepdad’s on our trip home and Santa had left me A SILHOUETTE CAMEO HOLY SHIT YES! So excited. I can’t wait to start using it. What should I make first? I was thinking about making thank you cards for all my wonderful gifts. I seriously may have peed my pants a little when I opened that present.

Ben got a new North Face jacket and I totally tricked him. hehehe. He’s been dying for one but I wouldn’t let him buy it until after Christmas because there “might be a sale”. Enter Santa. Don’t you love the holidays?

Molly got a new puppy for Christmas! Yes, we are those parents. But, we have been talking about getting a dog for A LONG TIME and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to adopt this 8-month-old yellow lab. Her owners are divorcing and wanted a good home for her, so my dad offered to pick her up for us. She’s currently living with him in SC until we can drive down and bring her home. She’s trained and everything! Here’s our Gracie:

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Here she is with my dad’s black lab, Daegan. He’s the best trained dog EVER and I hope he teaches Gracie all his good manners!

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GAHHH I can’t wait to bring her home!!!

All and all it was an amazing Christmas… one million time better than last year when I was unknowingly suffering from PPD and dealing with a screaming, gassy 6-week-old. I am beyond blessed with the best family a girl could ever ask for, wonderful in-laws, an amazing husband and a smart, happy, beautiful little girl. I could explode with happiness!  I hope y’all had a fantastic holiday celebrating with your families!

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<3

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

A few of us bloggers came together and rewrote this classic. Big props to Michelle at The Momma Bird for this fantastic idea and bringing us all together. I had fun trying to incorporate a mention of some kind of booze in my lines. Because, really, what’s Christmas without alcohol?

I’m taking tomorrow off so I hope everyone has a great holiday filled with love, laughter and plenty of drinks to keep you sane!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
{blog style}

Twas the night before Christmas, while scheduling posts on the blog
Not a child was stirring, they were bumps on a log.
Facebook was quiet no updates to see,
I sure hope Santa remembers presents for me!
 {Michelle @ the Momma Bird}

Oliver was chewing his bone by the fire,
his eyes were heavy, he was so very tired.
I had on my onesie covered with penguins you see,
hoping that under the mistletoe Mike would meet me.
{Ashley @ The Shine Project}

When out on the web there arose such a clatter,
from the Duggars &cloth diapering, to family matters.
Away to my laptop I started typing away,
25 blog posts to schedule before Christmas day!
 {Lacy @ Living on Love}

The room was a mess and life was on hold,
as the luster of my screen showed I had one more post to go.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
{Melanie @ Catelmo Family Blog}

With a plump red belly and a white beard to boot,
I knew it was Santa Clause delivering his loot,
With a voice that sounded much like Tom Hanks,
He shouted out to his flying ranks:
{Kendra @ Our Little Almanac}

Can you hear that baby?! Happy, now sad, now laughing, now crying!
Little girl don’t you know, tonight’s the night in which I am flying!
From the boppy to the bed, all in one fell swoop.
Let’s scurry off to bed, for your mommy is pooped!
{Alexandra @ My Blog Kip}

As the wind picks up and the snow is falling,
We are met with deadlines and emails are calling.
So up to the house the laptop now closes,
With a sleigh full of Giveaways and cheeks all a rosy.
{Beth @ Through the Eyes of the Mrs.}

And then as I took a sip of my tea
I heard, on the roof, someone louder than me.
I quickly grabbed my flask to spike my large cup.
Oh phew, it’s just Santa, here to make my pageviews go up.
{Nikki @ NoVa Mom Blog}

He was dressed all in red, it was a nice little look,
And a noticed in his bag, a little silver Macbook.
He took out his Mac, took a seat in a chair,
Then connected to the web, and said, "I like to share what I wear."
{Lacey @ Little Miss Nerd Girl}

His Iphone did twinkle! His Ipad did glow.
His fingers like ice cubes, his pointer like snow.
He looked for his warmers, they went on with a pop,
he could text and browse thanks, to the Hollie Rogue Shop!
{Andi @ The Hollie Rogue}

The click of the mouse beneath His forefinger,
As upon another blog post his eyes did linger.
But alas he grimaced in pure consternation
As he saw that dreaded prompt “Word Verification”
{Misty @ Through A Photographers Eyes}

He was savvy and smart, a solo Geek Squad in red,
And I followed each detailed instruction he said.
And my blog design problems were through,
I could tell, For Santa, it seems, sure knows html.
{Cat @ Stuff I Love}

I sat at my desk, typing away with a smirk,
choosing words and pics to display all my quirks.
Each word and sentence slowly turns into prose,
the night ticks away, as the bright screen still glows.
{Mary @ Lily White}

I sprang to my laptop, not a moment to lose,
and feverishly typed while G continued to snooze.
I looked out the window, as he disappeared into the night,
wishing Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”
{Jac @ BabEblessings}

Merry ‘early’ Christmas Everyone!!!

Love,
The Momma Bird
The Shine Project
Living on Love
Cantelmo Family Blog
Our Little Almanac
My Blog Kip
Through the Eyes of the Mrs.
NoVa Mom Blog
Little Miss Nerd Girl
The Hollie Rogue
Through a Photographers Eyes
Stuff I Love
Lily White
BabEblessings

Christmas Décor

If you’re new here you may not know that I live in a small two bedroom condo. I like to complain about it because since I’ve had a small human it has become an extension of Toys ‘R Us rather than the quaint, cozy home it once was. However, it really is a great place to live and I’m thankful to have a roof over my head when so many do not.

Living in a small space means getting creative when decorating for Christmas. Creative, as in totally blocking access to the back door. We don’t use the porch in the winter anyway! Yes, that is the door behind the tree in the below photo:

xmas tree

When you first approach our condo you will see the wreath I made. I didn’t go overboard with the berries and ornaments. I kept it simple (mainly because I didn’t feel like going back to the store for more shit).

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Upon entering our condo you will see the entry table (where mail piles up) and our makeshift mantle – it is seriously the ONLY place we can hang stockings. It also ensures we won’t forget them if we’re traveling somewhere for Christmas. They are right in our faces!

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Here’s a close up of the ornament basket thingy I made for the table, along with a mini tree for Molly I picked up at Trader Joe’s.

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Next up is the couch side table. These boxes were a gift one year that were filled with different candies/popcorn. I can’t remember who they were from, but I decided to keep them! You can also see my mini Redskins stocking that is hanging from the light. (I told you we have limited hanging space!) And those are two wind-up toys that Molly LOVES. She points to the Santa and says “Ho ho ho.” It really is the cutest thing ever. Also, there is my coffee. It is very very important to my everyday existence.

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Did I mention we have limited hanging space? Therefore, I don’t have a cute and creative place for Christmas cards. I tried displaying them on the fridge, but Molly kept taking them off and it was getting annoying putting them back up. So I decided to use this basket, which was actually just sitting on the floor waiting to be put to use. So, Molly decided to get stuck in it… hilarious!

From baby seat to card holder!

     drum  ChristmasCards

I LOVE my Christmas Village! Right now we are limited when it comes to expansion, but I can’t wait for one day when I can grow my village.

snowvillage

I will leave you with a few more photos, such as this one where you can see how desperately I need window treatments. I am having a hard time making a decision on that.

xmas village

Merry Christmas! I hope you have a great week gearing up for the big day… don’t stress too much!

xmas

Holiday Giving

Today I’m blogging over at Pure Matters. It’s a peek into my postpartum depression and body image struggles post baby. Maybe one day I’ll really dive into writing about my PPD, but I feel as though I’m finally out of that fog and right now I just don’t even want to go back there.

turkeytrot

On a lighter note, tis the season to give and if you are still looking for a way to teach your children the importance of giving to those in need here is a great opportunity!

As you know, Charlottesville is near and dear to my heart — my home away from home. The University of Virginia Children’s Hospital is actually among the 110 care centers nationwide working with Angelwish this holiday season to help the public grant wishes to underprivileged children living with chronic illnesses.

I know we are all super busy during the holidays running around decorating, shopping, baking and everything in between. Which is why Angelwish lets you provide gifts to these kids via their website. Pretty cool, huh? 

You and your child can view the online Wishlists for individual care centers and choose a gift to send directly to a child in need. Angelwish works closely with social workers from each care center to make sure the gifts listed fit the individual needs of their patients. This is a great, hassle-free way for busy parents to engage their children in the spirit of giving back this holiday season.

Best of all, 100% of your donation is tax deductible and will go directly toward purchasing your chosen gift – corporate contributions cover all administrative costs so you get more for your money.

Without the generosity of Angelwish donors, many of the children in these care centers would not receive any presents this holiday season.  To view the Wishlist for the UVA Children’s Hospital, visit http://angelwish.org/carecenter/index/162.

You are encouraged to donate before December 21 to ensure that the gifts arrive in time for the holidays.

And if you don’t live in Virginia you can find a care center in your state (or even country… yes they are International!) by visiting: http://www.angelwish.org/wishes.

Here is a video you can watch to see exactly what Angelwish does. I would embed it, but I can’t. Which is why I’m switching blog platforms in the new year :)

http://vimeo.com/15066602

Fillable Ornaments Gone Awry

Okay, I know it’s almost 5pm and you’re probably like, “Where the hell is Nikki’s post?” But I have kind of been avoiding this blog post. I know I don’t HAVE to blog about this if I don’t want to and I could share just the ONE good fillable ornament I made, but where’s the fun in that?

Remember when I was so excited that Factory Direct Craft sent me a box of fillable ornaments? I had all these grand plans of how awesome they would be. However, I wanted to try and make them with things I had around the house. Mainly to save money but have you been to Michael’s lately? It’s like everyone, all the sudden, is a crafter this time of year. The line is crazy long, but I stuck it out for some Christmas-y glitter and ribbons. With my 40% off coupon duh!

supplies

So I set up my supplies and go to work. This is where things started to go awry. I thought it would be cool to lightly spray the adhesive on the inside of the balls (hehe balls) and then sprinkle glitter over the spray for this pretty glittery look. NOPE! The spray wasn’t going on clear. Maybe because it’s for stencils? Any pro crafters out there? Helllooo? Needless to say, the green and red glitter remains unopened.

mess

Ugh. So I started getting discouraged. Then, I got a package in the mail for one of my BFF’s save-the-date. It had this fun yellow packaging and a light bulb went off. I’ll use this fun yellow stuff and write the song I sing for Molly on it! Well, forget about stenciling… have you tried to put a stencil on a round object? NOT HAPPENING. And I don’t have a vinyl cutter (Do ya hear that Santa?) so I can’t make pretty vinyl letters. I decided to freehand.

you aremy sunshine

Big mistake. I swear I have better handwriting than a 6 year old. Plus, the ornament busted open and smeared the “m.” :(

So at this point I’m really disgruntled. Next, I took some inspiration from John & Sherry over at Young House Love. FAV blog. I thought it would be cool to use the paint technique they blogged about. But…. I didn’t love it. I think if I added some water to the paint it would’ve turned out a little better. I guess my craft button was on off this day.

MM2

This is when a stencil or vinyl lettering would have really come in handy. This ornament was somewhat salvageable until I got my shaky hands on it and tried to paint an “M” for Molly. Icing lettering on a cake? No problem! On a ball? No way.

You may be wondering why I trekked on. I probably should have just given up after the monstrosities I was producing, but I was DETERMINED to make something worthy of our tree. (Although, I will admit our tree is a little small for these large ornaments… keep that in mind when ordering.)

This next one is a little better. My mother-in-law collected acorns for our wedding as little favors for the rehearsal dinner. She spray painted them and packaged them up really cute with candy corn. So I took some of the packaging and the acorns and put them in an ornament. It’s really hard to get them to sit just right in the ornament, but I thought it was kind of neat. (Sorry for the poor quality photos… I need to charge the big cam so I used my phone.)

acorns

Meh. Still not that great. But have no fear. I will end on a high note. One ornament turned out great! It’s simple and beautiful! I cut up our wedding invite and curled up the pieces on a pencil. Voila!

invite

YAY! So after all that… I finally got something that was tree worthy! I do have a few extra fillable ornaments. Should I go another round? Any ideas or tips? Or should I retire my fillable ornament crafting?

Holiday Gift Guide

Wow, was I busy this weekend! I had a Toy Story cupcake order for Saturday and a baby shower cake for one of my very best friends on Sunday, so I was up early and up late baking, baking, baking! We also somehow squeezed in Christmas shopping/decorating. However, we’re not completely done. When we are I’ll be sure to show you pictures. We decided to get an actual tree even though we were both worried about space and Molly getting into it.  With some rearranging we made it work and so far Molly seems to be okay with leaving it alone! We’ll see if that continues once we get the ornaments on.

jhcfhdhjmdhmb <– Molly wanted to say hi!

Anyway, I have a great Holiday Gift Guide video from Gifts.com about how to make it through your holiday shopping trips without going completely insane. I thought it was fitting given the fact that Christmas is right around the corner and I’m too tired to write an actual lengthy blog post. Hey, at least I’m honest right? ;)

Things I’m Pinning: Holiday Edition

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  We drove down to my dad’s in South Carolina and had a ball.  Molly experienced the ocean for the very first time and she LOVED it!  Yesterday, we spent 12 hours on the road, so I’m totally exhausted.

Therefore, I decided to be lazy and post things I’m pinning.  I haven’t had much time recently to get on Pinterest, but I was able to relax on Thanksgiving and get my fix.  I have been pinning everything from crafts to snacks and gifts to décor!

What are y’all pinning these days?  Follow me on Pinterest!

           

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Fillable Ornaments

Halloween is over so that means it’s time to start thinking about Christmas, right?!  Well, it is starting to creep up in my mind, mainly I’m wondering where the heck I’m going to put my Christmas tree.  A) Because our place is so small and B) because Molly will probably try to climb right to the top!  So that will be interesting.

Speaking of Christmas trees, I am planning on creating some ornaments and I am very excited about the craft supplies I received from Factory Direct Craft. They recently sent me some acrylic fillable ornaments and I have so many ideas on what to fill them with.  It’s never too early to get started!

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Here are a few inspirations:

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