Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our New Year's Tree

Back in October, I decided that I wanted a Halloween tree. After looking into and thinking about it, I decided to do a holiday tree that I keep up all year round and decorate for all the different holidays and seasons. I've been so excited about this ever since and I love my holiday tree. It's been really fun thinking of the upcoming holidays and how I'm going to decorate it. Here's it decorated for Halloween. Like I've mentioned before, I don't like paying full price for decorations, but Michaels' put their Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations on clearance for 70% off several days before Halloween, so I was able to get all my Halloween stuff and use it this year.

This is my Thanksgiving/fall tree. It's a little lacking because there wasn't that much fall stuff at Michael's, so I got some stuff at other stores after Thanksgiving and it'll be a little more decorated next year.

And decorated for Christmas.

I was originally going to decorate my tree with all my cooking/kitchen ornaments for January (because it's in my dining room) but the day after Christmas I started thinking about decorating it for New Year's. The colors for New Years are gold, silver and black. I had gold and silver ornaments from Christmas and black ornaments from Halloween. So, I decided to do a New Year's tree and leave the decorations up for most of January. When my mom and I were shopping the day after Christmas, we went into Party City and they had a ton of stuff for New Year's, I didn't want to spend much since I knew in a week, I could get all the stuff for much less. They had a lot of room decorating kits like this (but not this exact one) and I found one for $3.99 that had 8 pieces in it. I also got a mini party hat and a gold wreath for $4.99
 
I like to have a wreath on my pantry door that goes with my holiday tree, so I took the Happy New Year's sign, poked two holes in it and attached it to the gold Christmas wreath with some wire. Voila! A simple, easy, an inexpensive New Year's wreath. I am not creative and never do projects without following a tutorial from another blog or Pinterest. This is nothing special, but I was on a crafting high afterwards because it was huge for me!
 
My new wreath on my pantry door. I really need to spray paint my wreath holder white.  
 
I found some gold and silver garland at Walmart on Friday in the Christmas section on clearance, so I got some and put that around my tree.
 
I poked holes in the other things that were included in my party city package that I got and put an ornament hook through them and hung them up. I was pretty proud of myself for using something that wasn't an ornament and turning it into one. Like I said, I am not crafty, so it doesn't take much for me to impress myself. haha.  
 
The package I got from Party City also included the gold and silver champagne glasses, a couple of clocks, and some gold and silver stars, so I just hung them all on the tree.  
 
I got this champagne ornament at Kohl's in their Christmas clearance
 
This clock was at Walmart in their Christmas clearance.  
 
I put this mini new year's hat on as an ornament. I just pulled the string through the tiny hole at the top and hung it.   
 
Close up of my champagne glasses
 
A mini snowman hat that I stuck on there because I thought it looked like the top hat in a lot of New Year's d├ęcor that I saw.
 
I got a package of these from Walmart because I thought they were so pretty, then I saw on Pinterest how to make them yourself, so I got some glitter and a clear ornament (for 48 cents) and I'm going to try and make some myself.
 
I was going to wait until January 1st to get a hat to use as a topper on my tree, but I broke down and bought one for $2.77 at Walmart this weekend.  
 
My New Year's tree. I looked on Pinterest for some inspiration and ideas but could not find New Year's trees, so either I'm a creative trendsetter or a crazy person and there's a reason nobody does New Year's trees (or holiday trees, in general) Greg definitely thinks it's the latter. ;)  
 
I plan on picking up a few more mini hats and maybe some small noise makers when they go on clearance to hang up on my tree since I'll be keeping it up for the first few weeks of January. And I also got a clearance tree skirt that would work all year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Deals and Dress Up

The day after Christmas, my mom came and picked me up bright and early (7am!)so we could check out the Christmas clearance sales. I never buy holiday decorations full price, so after every holiday, I'll go pick up a few things to use the following year. This year I was mainly looking for kids Christmas crafts and some ornaments that I could use on my holiday tree. Last year after Thanksgiving, I got some kids Thanksgiving and fall crafts at Michaels' for like 70-80 percent off. I stocked up and still have some to use next year. I did the same thing this year with Halloween and Thanksgiving and couldn't wait to see what I could get to use for Christmas next year.

I really wanted to get a couple Elf on the Shelf outfits, but I didn't have any luck. I thought the pilot and the chef outfit would have been really cute. I did find the Elf Pet, which is this cute, but 50% off was still more than I wanted to pay. If I saw him later this week at 75% off, I'd get it. I did find these cute Elf on the Shelf gift bags (perfect for the goodies that Dennis brings to our Northpole breakfast), this fun puzzle (for $4.00!) and the Elf on the Shelf movie. We don't have cable and so the boys have never seen the movie. I've been wanting to get it, but again, didn't want to pay full price. I am very excited about this find at Target!
I also got a couple bags of cute clothespins from different stores. I got the reindeer one on the bottom left the day after Thanksgiving at Michael's for 50% off (plus I had 30% off coupon) and I love using it above the boys crafting table to hang their artwork. I also think you could glue a magnet on the back and use it to hang pictures, cards, or crafts on the fridge.
I was able to find lots of cute kids crafts for the boys. Hobby Lobby had their Christmas stuff for 66% off and the other stores we went to had them for 50% off. I got a couple that made 24-30 so we could have a Christmas craft playdate next year. And I love any Christmas craft that is an ornament or that can be turned into an ornament.
The snowmen on the top left I actually got last year, but I was taking pictures of everything I had so I would know next year without having to check the attic. I got it for 70 percent off last year and it's going to last me two years (at least) definitely a great deal!
I'm really excited about this felt nativity scene. I'll definitely give this to them the weekend after Thanksgiving so they can use it the whole month of December.
And my absolute favorite thing that I got was this picture from Kirklands. I love Kirklands and pretty much every picture they have in their store. I just think this picture is so gorgeous. It's huge too! It's going to go on my mantel next year and I can't wait. The best part is that it was normally $79.99 and I got it for $17.99! They already had all their things marked down 75% and my mom showed her military id for another 10% off. $17.99!

After my mom and I went to several stores, we all went back to my parents house and had Christmas leftovers, let the boys play with their Christmas gifts some more and ride their bikes. We made several trips up and down that driveway.

I got some wreath making stuff that was marked down because it said "Christmas mesh" so I got some green mesh and green ornaments and silver mesh and some pink ornaments and went ahead and made my St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's day wreaths. This isn't a good picture and they're not fancy, but I'm happy with them. So, I got those made and was able to put them up in the attic when I put up my Christmas decorations. Now I just need to make an Easter and patriotic wreath and I'm set for all the seasons/holidays.

This is an awful picture and you can't tell, but the silver mesh is gorgeous. I actually went back and got another roll and my mom got one too. This is for the front door, but I'm going to make one with that silver to go in the house, not sure if I'll do another Valentine's wreath or not, but I wanted one inside where I could see it.

Saturday and Sunday, I worked on putting up the Christmas decorations. Our attic is a complete mess, I've just been sticking things up there when I didn't want to deal with them and my holiday bins are a disaster, I had Halloween in Christmas bins, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in a Halloween bin, etc. So, I brought all my bins down and took everything out and organized them and went up in the attic and organized everything up there. Taking down Christmas decorations is a job, but organizing the attic too made it a whole weekend event. Luckily, the boys played with their Christmas toys the whole weekend. It was nice enough Saturday that they got to go to the park for a couple hours with Greg, but Sunday was nasty and rainy, so they played in their pajamas all day. They opened up their Melissa and Doug dress up clothes and had the best time. They were so cute playing fireman, police officer and doctor.

Carter handcuffed Evan to the door. They had the best time with those handcuffs. Every time I turned around, Evan was handcuffed to something different.

I cannot remember the last time the boys stayed in their pajamas all day. It would have been nice, if I was able to relax and play too. :(

Evan hurt his elbow, so Carter immediately got on his doctor costume (see the difference in the playroom behind them from the last couple pictures--haha) When the boys are checking somebody out while playing doctor they call it "doctoring" so Carter was like "I'll doctor you Evan" and Evan would say "come here daddy, I need to doctor you" haha.

Dr. Carter.

Evan put it on to come "doctor" me and give me a shot.

Carter wanted to make sure I got a picture of him blowing his whistle and holding his handcuffs so everybody could see.

Evan, concentrating on giving me a shot.

"Cheese!"

Even Evan smiled for the camera.
 
So, that was our weekend.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Day

I posted these pictures on our Christmas Eve post, but wanted them on our Christmas day post also.
 
The boys stockings and gifts from Santa

The boys "big" items from us this year.

The presents and tree.

The boys slept pretty late on Christmas, I think it was almost 7 when they woke up. We left the door to the playroom closed, so they came downstairs and saw their stockings and opened those, then we went into the playroom and the boys immediately started playing with their castle and batcave. They LOVED them. I'm so glad I opened them before and had them ready. It's such a pain opening up all the boxes and cutting all the strings that are holding everything. I even opened up all the figures and rescue bots that I put in their stockings, it's just easier that way. The boys played so good, that Greg ended up going and taking a shower and we ate breakfast while they were playing, after we all opened the wrapped gifts under the tree.

This is Greg's gift from the boys. ;) I saw the idea on Pinterest and thought it'd be a cute thing to have the boys do. I got a 4 pack of beer that Greg has been wanting to try and then had the boys put pipe cleaners, googly eyes and red noses to make Reinbeers. I did feel a little weird doing a beer craft with my 4 year olds, but I thought it was cute and they had fun.

Greg also loved it. :)

I loved sitting there while the boys played with their new toys. They looked so cute in their little Christmas pajamas.

I knew they boys would like these, they always play so good with the display ones at Kohl's.

I didn't get any pictures of them opening presents, just of them playing a little bit before we got dressed and went to my parents house.

The big thing from Santa this year was bikes. The castles and Batcave were from us and we actually read a note from Santa to the boys that he left them a present at Meemaw and Papaws. So, we headed over to my parents house and exchanged gifts with everybody and Evan remembered that Santa had left them a gift, so he asked about it, so that's when we took the boys outside to the garage and they saw their bikes. They were thrilled.

How precious do they look in their helmets and on big boy bikes!?

These were a lot different than the toddler bikes they had before, so it took some getting used to, especially braking and not being able to turn going full speed. Surprisingly, Evan got the hang of it faster than Carter. We expected Carter to get it sooner because he was a pro at riding their old bikes before Evan would even pedal.

It was such a gorgeous day out. We could not have asked for better weather. It had rained and rained several days leading up to Christmas, even on Christmas eve. There were major roads that shut down because of flooding, but Christmas morning the skies were clear. It was perfect.

Papaw and Carter.

They seem like such big boys to me.

There's a lot of pictures of them on their bikes because that's how we spent a majority of Christmas day.






Evan decided to go off the driveway and ride down the sidewalk to my parents front porch.

My sister gave the boys Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts and the boys immediately started taking off the shirts they were wearing and begged to put these on right away. They were so excited.

I love this age, I love that they were so excited about all the presents they got. So appreciative and happy with everything. They immediately had to wear theses shirts because they were so excited about them, that just made me so happy.

After a big Christmas dinner, some playing inside and a two hour nap (the boys first nap in months), the boys rode their bikes some more. We let them go all the way down my parents long driveway. It was perfect, the boys loved being able to ride their bikes that far (they normally just doing the driveway right outside the garage) and I was able to get a little exercise in. It was such a beautiful day that I didn't mind walking to the end of the driveway and back several times.

Right before we left, the boys asked to put on their super hero costumes that my parents gave them for Christmas. Evan asked if they could put them on and wear them home, so we let them. They were so excited. I actually found these costumes at Target after Halloween on clearance for $2.00!!! I grabbed them and a couple others for the boys to play dress up with and then decided to wait until Christmas to give them to them. I ended up buying too many things for the boys, so my mom and Caroline actually "shopped" out of my gift closet for them. It worked out well for all of us because I love shopping for the boys, I had too much stuff, they weren't sure what to get the boys, so it was just a win-win situation.

How cute is this? The muscles!! So precious. All of us got the biggest kick out of this. The boys loved wearing the costumes and were being so funny.

Haha, flight mode.

Showing off their muscles.

When we got home, the boys had a bath and got to use their bath coloring sheets and crayons that Santa left them. It came with 20-30 sheets and you can wipe the sheets off and use them over and over again. I actually wiped these off that night after they used them and the crayon came off great.

Greg and I both said that this was the best Christmas with the boys. They're at such a fun age. They were excited about everything. They believe in Santa and Dennis the Elf. They loved doing anything and everything Christmas related the whole month-movies, music, crafts, cookies, gingerbread houses, etc. They loved all their gifts and were just so excited about all of them. They didn't ask for a lot, they were so happy with the goodies that Dennis the Elf brought that for the first couple weeks, when somebody would ask what they wanted from Santa, they'd say "oh, we already got some stuff" haha.
I really wanted to do something with the boys where they give back, but I just totally dropped the ball on that one, but I did want them to pick out something on their own to give to everybody. I talked to them about it a couple weeks before Christmas and then the weekend before Christmas, I talked to them about it again and Greg and I took them out and let them get something for everybody. I didn't want them to think they were the only ones who got presents and I wanted them to be excited about giving also. I let them each pick out a gift for mamaw, papaw and Caroline. It was so funny to hear their ideas, but Evan decided to get my dad a shovel so he could dig in his garden (which I thought was so sweet and thoughtful) so he went to the garden section at Walmart and picked out a little hand shovel (it was like 75 cents) We didn't spend a lot, we just wanted to start introducing the idea of gift giving to them. Before, we'd get what we were going to get and show the boys and tell them about it, but I liked the idea of them getting something all on their own. He also wanted to get my dad a card, so he picked one out, colored it and even wrote Papaw on the envelope. Evan picked lipstick for my mom, so we went to the lipgloss section and he got her strawberry chapstick. He also picked a book for Caroline--"one with lots of words and no pictures because grown ups don't like pictures" haha. Carter loves this light up Snowman picture that my parents have at their house, so he wanted to get my dad a sleigh picture. That was harder said than done, so we found a kid's sleigh craft at Target and I let him put it together and he gave him a little homemade sleigh. He got my mom hand soap and a candy cane full of Hershey kisses. I think he remembers us picking out soap at Bath and Body works for my sister for her birthday, so I think he thought "soap is a good gift for girls-haha) And he got my sister a cat toy for her cat. Greg and I had split up at Target and he took Evan to go pick out a card with my dad and Carter and I were getting the candy for my mom and I said "do you want to get Evan something?" and he was so excited and picked out a candy cane of Hershey kisses for Evan too. When Greg and Evan met up with us, I told Greg that Carter had picked out something for Evan so him and Evan went to get Carter something that was just from Evan. He actually picked out a candy cane of starburst jelly beans. That weekend we even had the boys wrap the gifts all by themselves. I cut the wrapping paper to size and they folded it all up and taped it. I kept forgetting to have them wrap each other's gifts because it was something I needed to split them up to do. Christmas night, before bath, I saw them in our bedroom in their Target bags, so I just went in the living room and gave them each the bag and had them exchange gifts. They both opened up their bags and were squealing! They were like "you're the best brother ever, I love it so much" it was the sweetest thing I've ever seen. I love that I didn't have my phone taking pictures of the whole day and was just enjoying it, but I really regret not getting that on video. They hugged each other and kept saying "thank you so much" and then offered to share their gifts with each other. Evan even said "we both picked out treats because we're twins and we think alike" haha.

It was just the best Christmas Greg and I have ever had. I love Christmas and everything about it so I always enjoy it, but it was different this time. I think there's a short window of this magical phase where the kids believe in all the santa stuff, enjoy all the activities, are excited about everything, happy with anything they get, etc. I think Christmas with them will always be great and every other year has been fun, but I know one day, they're going to be over Dennis the Elf, not believe in Santa, think Christmas music and crafts are cheese. I love that they play with their toys that morning in the pajamas, one day they'll want expensive stuff and stuff that you don't play with. :( I just love Christmas this year, it was just perfect. I feel like I'm forgetting so many of the small little details that I wanted to remember. I uploaded the pictures that night and planned on blogging about it that night after the boys went to bed so I could remember everything, but it didn't happen.

Anyways, I love looking back on my blog because it's so hard to remember things, and I want to remember just how perfect Christmas was this year.