Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

     Christmas preparations are officially underway at the Washington Rumely household! And I am loving it! I am also loving my sweet husband who puts up with all my Christmas craziness in the most good-natured way.  
     To begin the Christmas season, we took Owen to see Santa on Saturday before we went to buy a Christmas tree. We paid to be able to use our camera to take the photos instead of having the person there take a picture and print it out for us. Owen cried at first when we sat him on Santa's lap, but he calmed down once Santa let him play with his jingle bells. My mom says that it is exactly what I deserve because I was always scared of dressed up people when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure she even had to bribe me to hug Mickey Mouse when we went to Disney World when I was 10. 
     After sitting with Santa for a few minutes, Owen still was not entirely sold on the idea so we never got a smiley picture of Owen with Santa, but the suspicious "Who are you and why are you holding me?" picture was pretty cute too. Stay tuned for our Christmas card to see that one. We also let Owen check out some reindeer while we were there. 

     The place where we took Owen to see Santa also had Christmas trees, but after I didn't see any trees that I liked, we drove about 40 minutes away to Bill's Berry Farm to look at the trees there. We ended up buying a 7-foot-tall Noble Fir. We generally have bought Leyland Cypresses in the past, but the Noble Fir is so beautiful and full and smells so amazing!

When we dragged the tree inside, we realized it was much bigger than we had thought it was. And Owen was surprised that there was a tree suddenly placed in front of him.

      The next day we strung the lights and then waited until Owen was asleep so that we could hang ornaments together while drinking eggnog and munching reindeer cookies and listening to a mix of Christmas music. It was such a great time and especially great for us because the only other time we've had a Christmas tree while we were married, Tim had a 103 degree fever and was really sick so he just hung out on the couch while I decorated that year.

Our finished Christmas tree!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Things I've learned from Pinterest

    So I've been on Pinterest for a little over a month now. The site is very addicting and a lot of fun to peruse. In my time on Pinterest I've learned quite a few things about people and myself. Here are the top 10, Letterman-style.

10. People would rather make a recipe that involves Oreos, cookie dough, and brownies than one that involves broccoli.
9. No knock-off of a Starbucks drink will ever taste just like the real thing.
8. People really like Nutella. 
7. Girls will pin pictures of half-naked skinny women as "thinspiration" right next to an entire board of cupcakes recipes. (P.S. This photo is of a couple of boards that belong to someone I know and love, but whose identity I will protect) 
6. Pinterest is a great resource for people who are planning to get married. But I'm also kind-of glad that it wasn't around when I was engaged because I would have lost my job with the amount of time I spent on Pinterest looking at ideas.
 5. People who are no where near getting married or having children seem to have more pins dedicated to those subjects than to anything else. So don't assume an engagement or a pregnancy announcement will be forthcoming, because most of the time, they're just saving ideas for the (far) future. (This board also belongs to someone I know and someone who shall remain nameless)
4. People really like bacon.
3. People really like crafts that use burlap or mason jars. (Or better yet, both!)
2. Mustaches are weirdly popular. 

And the No. 1 thing that I've learned from Pinterest is... 

     Pinning makes you feel creative and artistic even if you've never been creative or artistic in your entire life! This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much time (cough cough... money) you spend at Michael's because of it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pinspiring Friday!

    This week I was only able to complete one of my crafts. I made a Christmas wreath that I found on Pinterest that uses only four things to make it - round Christmas ornaments, wired ribbon, a coat hanger, and hot glue. And it only cost me $10.81 to make! Which is awesome if you compare it to the ones at Pier 1 Imports that probably cost at least $40 or $50. I bought about 70 or 80 different sized ornaments in red and gold from the Dollar Tree and then hot-glued each of their tops to them so they wouldn't pop off when I was stringing them onto the coat hanger. I bent a clothes hanger into a circle and then had Tim use his man strength to unbend the wire hook so I could string them on, alternating sizes so that the smaller ornaments fill in the gaps. Then I bent the hook back together and tied a ribbon over it to hide it. The whole project probably took me about half an hour. And I love the results! I have some green and red ornaments too so that I can make a second wreath because it was that easy and turned out so pretty. 
This was my inspiration!
     And here is the one that I made. It doesn't photograph as beautiful as it is. Plus I took this picture in the evening and it's kind-of dark in our living room at that time of day.
     I still haven't made Owen's shadowbox because I didn't like the look of his hospital blanket as the background (too cluttered). So I bought some blue fabric and will use that instead as the backdrop. Hopefully I will get that finished within the next week.
    Another project that I am hoping to do is a book to hold all of the cards we got at Owen's baby shower and when he was born. I'm really excited about doing that because at the moment, they are just piled in a drawer and I can't wait to have a pretty way to display them so we can look back through them in the future. Here is a picture of my inspiration for that project.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tasty Thursday

     I will of course not be cooking dinner tonight because we will be going to Vancouver for Thanksgiving dinner with Tim's cousin and her family, but I have our menu for the rest of the week planned so that I'll be ready to get back into the swing of things once we return home on Friday. It does take us about four hours or so to drive home so we will probably grab something to eat out on Friday night, but I'll be back in the kitchen on Saturday evening. So here's the menu for the week. Some of the meals are new and others were chosen to use up ingredients that we already have.

Saturday: Chicken pot pie soup with easy garlic cheddar biscuits. This is a recipe from Skinny Taste that looks really warm and comforting. It also seems like a really interesting idea for a soup and I love a good winter soup recipe! And the garlic cheddar biscuits are supposedly a healthy-ized version of the Cheddar Bay biscuits at Red Lobster. 

Sunday: Paula Deen's taco meatloaf with corn and black beans. One of Tim's favorites.
Monday: Autumn penne pasta with sauteed brussels sprouts in a light ragu. I know you're thinking, "Brussels sprouts? What?" but I have a feeling that this is actually going to be pretty tasty. And I have Italian sausage in the freezer already. 
Tuesday: Skinny Taste chicken nuggets and baked zucchini sticks with green beans. We had this just the other week, but I still have lots of bread crumbs and Panko leftover that I want to use up. And we can dip the zucchini sticks in leftover marina from the night before. 
Wednesday: Pioneer Woman's Easy Mulligatawny. This is one of my favorite recipes at the moment. I just love the warmth and spice of curry. And this soup is perfect for cold weather for those reasons. With some crusty French bread to soak up the delicious broth. Please, be brave and try this soup. Even if you think you don't like curry. It's so so yummy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

25 Days of Christmas

     I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year. I love all the family togetherness, the gifts, the food, the music and singing, the lights, the movies, the traditions, the cold weather that makes bundling up and crowding around the fire that much more special, and so much more! I love how the season makes everyone pause to think about and appreciate others. 
     And I love what Christmas is all about. God's amazing love for us that he would come to be with us in such a tangible and humble way. He - our King and Savior - chose to enter the world as a sweet baby. And that was just the start of a bigger plan to offer us forgiveness and  salvation. Wow! 
    Because this time of year is so special to me, I love to celebrate it by taking part in a lot of Christmas activities and fun. So I'm making a list of 25 things that I want to do this Christmas season with Tim and Owen. Last year we were so wrapped up in moving across the country that we didn't do a lot of the things that we love doing during the holidays. And this year I want to make sure we're making memories and starting family traditions with Owen that we will do for years to come. So here's my list.

1. Take Christmas photos of Owen - November 29
2. Create a Christmas mix CD or buy a new Christmas CD - November 27 and December 14 - Tim bought me Michael Buble's newest Christmas CD. Yay!
3. Design and mail Christmas cards to family and friends - December 7
4. Watch some of our favorite Christmas movies. (I love Elf and White Christmas)
5. Visit a tree farm and cut down our own Christmas tree - November 26
6. Have a tree decorating "date" after Owen goes to sleep - November 27
7. Decorate the house - December 3
8. Drive around and look at Christmas lights with hot chocolate in thermoses
9. Have pictures taken of Owen with Santa - November 26 
10. Read the Christmas story in Luke - December 16
11. Make Christmas cookies - November 27, December 8
12. Make a Christmas ornament - November 5
13. Do a Christmas craft with Owen - December 9
14. Participate in a charity drive to give to others -December 1
15. Make a Christmas wreath - November 22 
16. Buy new pajamas for the three of us (or at least Owen) to wear on Christmas Eve night
17. Cook Christmas dinner for our little family of three - December 16
18. Get a babysitter and go on a Christmas date - December 10
19. Make a Christmas decoration - November 22
20. Attend a local Christmas event - December 10
21. Surprise Tim with a Christmas treat - December 7
22. Make a Christmas treat for the neighbors or friends (Elf them!)
23. Find a way to display Christmas cards that we receive - November 15
24. Try out a brand new Christmas recipe - December 8
25. Go to a candlelight service
    And there you have it! As wives and moms, a lot of times it is up to us women to give our children and families joy and peace at Christmas. My goal this year is to try to provide a fun and unstressful Christmas for my family. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pinspiring Friday!

     This week I did a really fun (and easy) craft. It took me about three naptimes (give or take some time spent doing dishes and showering). I made a Christmas planner that I found on Pinterest. The planner is made using a composition notebook and Christmas craft paper and contains sections for a calendar, a "to do" list, a gift list, menu, Christmas cards, and envelopes to keep receipts and coupons. I took pictures while I made it so that I could show the step-by-step process. So here goes. This was my inspiration and where I got the print-outs for the front label.

STEP ONE: Make sure that you have everything you need to complete the project. ( I made a shopping trip to Michael's to buy some Christmas-themed paper.) These are the things you need to make the Christmas planner.
- a composition notebook
- ribbon (I used leftover ribbon from my Christmas card wreath)
- several sheets of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper in Christmas prints and colors
- adhesive (I used Glue Dots because I already had those on hand)
- 2 6x9 manila envelopes
- stapler
- scissors
The best part about this project? I had most of this stuff already!
STEP TWO: Download the printables from the website www.eighteen25.com. 
STEP THREE: Cut a piece of ribbon about 36 inches inches long and glue it around the middle of the composition notebook.
A way to use leftover ribbon? Score!
STEP FOUR: Cut pieces of Christmas scrapbook paper to fit the front and back of the composition notebook by tracing around the front and back covers. Then use another two inch strip the length of the notebook from top to bottom to cover up any part of the front of the notebook that still shows between the first sheet of paper and the black binding. Then glue everything down, including the Christmas planner label. 
Pardon my lame-o picture of myself "tracing." It's hard to illustrate tracing without a hand. to hold the pencil. Also pardon my fingernails. My brittle, non-pregnant nails are back. Sad.
I used Glue Dot strips to adhere the paper to the cover.
 STEP FIVE: Take the labels that say "My Receipts" and "My Coupons" and glue them onto a two-inch wide strip of scrap paper and then glue that onto the flap side of the manila envelopes. Glue those envelopes onto the front and back cover of the notebook. I also used scrapbook paper to cover the inside covers where it has the class schedule grid and stuff like that. 
A place for coupons!
This is the inside front cover and the first page.
STEP SIX: Cut five 2 x 2-inch squares of different scraps of scrapbook paper(I alternated colors down the side of the notebook), fold them in half, and label them "Calendar," "To Do," "The List," "Menu," and "Cards." Then staple them at intervals onto a few sheets of paper down the side of the notebook. 
I printed out labels for my tabs because trying to write out each one perfectly centered was making me frustrated.
So organized. 
STEP SEVEN: Print out weekly calendars online and glue them into the calendar section.
STEP EIGHT: You're done! Admire your fine work! This little baby will hopefully keep me organized throughout the Christmas season and it was a lot of fun to make.
Yay! So cute!
     In other crafting news, I have not started my shadowbox for Owen's newborn memorabilia because I am waiting on the delivery of a photograph of him that I want to put in the box. But here is my inspiration from Pinterest for the shadowbox.
    I love the use of the baby blanket as the background of the shadowbox and hope to be able to do the same using Owen's swaddling blanket from the hospital. I also have the hat he wore home from the hospital, his pacifier from the hospital, all of our hospital bracelets, his baby socks he wore in the hospital, the little card from his isolet that has his name and other information on it, some more of his footprints, his measuring tape, his blood pressure cuff, and a silver baby spoon from the doctor that delivered him. I can't wait to work on this project!
    The reason I pinned this one was because of the baby's name with the photograph inside it. I did the same thing with one of Owen's newborn pictures on Photoshop and I ordered a copy of it online so I am waiting for it to be delivered before I start laying everything out in the shadowbox. I hope I have room to fit it all in there! I'll post pictures of it whenever I finish it.