Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Tidbits and Advent Calendar

I do believe I am almost finished with my Christmas decorating!
I've decided to keep it fairly simple this year.
No breakables out this year because of the kiddos.
I'm using more lights than usual this year on the inside of the house.
Here's a little peek...

I made garlands using a strand of lights and fabric scraps.
I folded my strand of lights in half...then tied the two strands together with strips of fabric.
Easy peasy!

Our Advent Calendar is finished and ready for tomorrow morning!
I had somebody ask what Advent was (and it wasn't a silly question by the way!).
An Advent Calendar is a way to count down the days until Christmas.

Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming") is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

For our Advent Calendar this year I filled each bag with a treat (candy or small toy) and an activity we will do as a family.  Here is my list..
1. Make a Christmas craft
2. Bake Christmas Cookies
3. Make a Christmas craft
4. Make home made marshmallows
5. Pretend the story of Christ's birth
6. Make a Christmas craft
7. Make Christmas cards for friends and loved ones
8. Make a Christmas craft
9. Make Christmas reindeer cupcakes
10. Watch a Christmas movie
11. Read a special Christmas book
12. Drive and look at Christmas lights
13. Bake Christmas cookies
14. Make hot cocoa with marshmallows
15. Make a Christmas craft
16. Drive and look at Christmas lights
17. Make a Christmas tree shaped pizza and decorate it with toppings
18. Watch a Christmas movie
19. Make a Christmas craft
20. Sing our favorite Christmas carols
21. Make a Christmas craft
22. Bake Christmas cookies
23. Drive and look at Christmas lights
24. Make a birthday cake for Jesus!

I have alot of repeats in our activities.
Obviously alot of crafts and baking!
Some days bags are filled with little candy bars....
other days are filled with little toys from Dollar General.
Each day before we do our Advent Calendar we are going to work on memorizing
the beginning of Luke 2 (the story of Christ's birth).
I love Advent.
I love celebrating the days up until Jesus' birthday!


What are some of your favorite ways to decorate for the holidays?
I'd love to hear :)

 Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Catch Up

Are you ready for this?
This post will be jam-packed with tid-bits.
Pretty much a catch up :)
So here we go!

I had several questions about some of the things I wore this past week.

Top Left and Middle: Sweatshirt/Dress thing is from Target last year
Socks- American Eagle this year
Boots- TJ Maxx, probably four years ago.
Top Right: "Michael Jackson" shirt as my husband lovingly refers to it- Forever 21
Emma's outfit this past Sunday was from Anything Baby Boutique!
Their clothes are precious and the girls that own it are SO sweet!

This morning I found Colt relaxing on the couch with a bag of chips.
A bag of chips that I did not give him.
He was just sitting there looking out the window as he snacked.
I love this little guy.
He has been giving me a run for my money this past week.
He has been wearing his pants on his head any chance he can get.
Once he has them on his head he goes around saying "Argh...I'm a pirate".
All. Day. Long.
I love him:)
We went to a basketball game tonight...
he tried to take his pants off at the game so he could put them on his head.

I picked up some window stickies a few weeks ago at Dollar General.
$1 bought me almost a whole hour of quiet time :)
Money well spent!

Melanie at Layer Cake Designs sent me this sign and picture frame last week.
The lighting is horrible in these pictures.... took them tonight.
But you get the idea!
Scroll down to the post below...she's giving away one of these signs!

The winner of The Pickled Poppy Giveaway is...

The Olive Tree!
E-mail me and I'll get you hooked up with Autumn!

I know I'm forgetting several things...
but of course they're escaping me right now.

I'm getting ready to make a holiday baking list.
I picked up a Food Network magazine at the store this past week.
It's full of yummy cookie recipes!
What are some of your favorite cookies/treats to bake during the holidays?

pleated poppy

Layer Cake Designs- GIVEAWAY

I am REALLY excited to introduce today's Holiday Craft Fair shop to you!


Her work is INCREDIBLE!
She sent me a Keep Calm and Carry On sign...AND a gorgeous picture frame.
Her work is top quality.
Heavy duty pieces that are beautifully done.
Trust me.. you need to buy one of her pieces!
The fun part is you can pick from a TON of different color choices!

Read more about Melanie and Layer Cake Designs below...
And don't forget to enter the giveaway!

1. Tell us about your shop: I started Layer Cake Designs earlier this year. Everyone asks me where I came up with that name. I honestly have no idea, but it works. :) I originally started out doing vinyl decals for friends and family. Everyone loved what I was doing, so I decided to open up an Etsy shop to see if I could sell anything. The shop grew slowly, and I began getting requests for custom work. I had several people ask me about making wooden signs, so I gave it a shot and they turned out great. I added the signs and picture frames to the shop a few months ago, and the response has been almost overwhelming. It was important to me to allow my customers to be able to completely customize their signs, whether they wanted a different quote or saying or a different paint color, so everything is made to order.

2. Tell us about you: Hi! My name is Melanie. I have been married 6 wonderful years to my husband, and we have two crazy, energetic, beautiful kiddos. I am a full time stay-at-home-momma and part time artist, painter and crafter. I love a big cup of coffee in the morning, good Tex-Mex for dinner, Creme Brûlée for dessert, comfy jeans, flip flops, painted toenails, date nights with the hubs, trips to the park with the kids, Coke Zero, fresh flowers in my kitchen, peach cobbler, a glass of red wine and late night chats with my girlfriends. Thank you to Ashley for allowing me to be a part of the Holiday Craft Fair! So much fun!

3. What's your favorite item in your shop and why: It's hard for me to pick just one favorite from my shop, but it has to be the "In This House We Do" sign. I originally saw the idea for this sign on Pinterest, and I decided to make one for my own home. It hangs in our family room and reminds us of the important things to do daily.

You can find Layer Cake Designs here...

Melanie is offering you readers free shipping!!
Enter SHIPFREE at the checkout.

She is also giving away a Keep Calm and Carry On sign!
The winner can choose any color!

To enter you MUST be a follower of The Vanilla Tulip.
Leave a comment below letting me know what your favorite item in her shop is!

For an additional entry:
Fan Layer Cake Designs on Facebook (link is above)

The winner will be announced next Tuesday!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turns out...

I am a terrible speller when I'm tired and I have great friends.
I'm referring to my After Thanksgiving post.
The night before Thanksgiving Cade slept MAYBE an hour and a half.
Poor little fella didn't feel well.
Thanksgiving day I could barely keep my eyes open.
Thanksgiving evening I quickly typed up a post.
A recap of the day.
And a little Black Friday sale for my shop with a 40% off discount.
Here's the kicker.
I received a tweet the next day from my friend Angie saying,
"I love you, Ashley. So just an fyi 40 is spelled forty. :)"

I had spelled it FOURTY.
AND.... I had made the discount code be FOURTY.
Then another friend Melissa pointed out I had spelled the Macy's Day Parade, "MACEY'S".

In the past I have prided myself on being a fairly good speller.
Yeah...not so much any more :)


Saturday morning was our official "cut a tree" day.
We woke up to pouring rain with no end in sight.
After discussing it for awhile we decided to head to Walmart to pick out a tree this year.
In years past we've always lived in the city and it was a treat to drive out to the country to cut a tree.
This year I don't feel like I'm missing too much of that since we live in the middle of the woods :)

I have been wanting a white (fake) Christmas tree for awhile now.
My mom has one in her kitchen and uses it to display all of her vintage ornaments.
Trav was so sweet and suggested we do a white Christmas tree this year instead of a real.
I of course loved the idea. :)
So this year we have our real Charlie Brown tree and a white fake tree!

Poor little tree needs some wrapped presents underneath to hide the tiny trunk :)

I will not be adding my vintage ornaments to my white tree for many, many, many years.
I will not even be taking them out of the boxes.
Nothing is safe with these three around!
This morning Cade pulled the tree over on top of himself.
*he's fine:) *
All of the ornaments on the tree this year are plastic.
Except for a special princess one of Emma's.
So yeah... nothing breakable on the tree for many years.

I'm off to finish up my Advent Calendar!
Thursday is the big day!
How was your Monday?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Charlie Brown Tree

The day after Thanksgiving means time to get ready for Christmas!
We spent the day cleaning up around the house and prepping for our big Christmas tree day tomorrow!
In years past I would use the extra trimmings from our Christmas tree for
garlands and wreaths to use inside the house.
There was obviously a limited supply of trimmings.
This year I don't even know what to do with myself!
Since we live in the middle of the woods I have unlimited supplies of pine tree trimmings.

I spent the afternoon wrapping pine tree branches around my railings.
Travis was a dear and kept cutting down large handfuls for me.

Emma and I have had our eye on a tiny little tree in the woods near our house.
We sweet talked Trav into digging it up so we could plant it in a pot.
The things that man does for us:)

The little tree started out on our front porch but ended up inside.
It was too cute to waste sitting outside in my opinion!


Do you have your Christmas tree up yet?
Does your family do real or fake?
Hope you had a good day...
I'm off to finish off the leftover pumpkin pie :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our Day and BIG SALE!

Thanksgiving is almost over...
My heart is full.
Time spent with the ones I love,
Yummy food,
Healthy babies,
Loving husband.

*Watching the Macey's Day Parade*

*Colt and his Indian Feathers :)

We're back to our cozy home.
Trav has our first fire of the season lit.
Cade is tucked in his bed.
Trav is bathing the big two.
Off to put some cookies in the oven for our Thanksgiving date on the couch :)
Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving!

And for those of you who are getting ready to start your Christmas or holiday shopping...
I am offering 40% off any of the items in my Etsy shop!
FORTY PERCENT is a big deal people!
So get shopping!
Just enter FORTY at the checkout!
The sale ends Monday.
Once everything is gone it's gone until after the New Year!

*There are Library Totes and DSLR Camera Straps in the shop!*