Family Portraits

Over Thanksgiving my nephew's wife asked me to take some pictures of her and her girls - these ladies are so photogenic!! Riane has some ADORABLE pictures of Isabel - she really knows how to work it! LOL!!! We were getting down to the wire when we finally got to the pictures and I was quickly losing the light - but I still like the way most of them turned out! 














Holiday Help!!!

Thanks to my MIL Michael, Emma, Aaron & I now have a set of matching stockings for Christmas - they are so cute (I'll take pics to post soon - Thanks Barbara)...but I don't have any thing to hang them with on my mantle. I've bought stocking holders before, but none have been great and end up falling off when I would actually put anything in the stocking. 

I had ones similar to these before:
While these are really cute - those bases never hold very well. The edge of my mantle is not a hard corner and they are never deep enough and always end up teetering off - I've broken a couple of snowflake holders this way!!

So - I've been searching online a bit and I did find these:

These looks like they would hold a lot and I wouldn't have to worry about them falling off or breaking if they did happen to fall! And I like that they are a bit whimsical b/c that's how our new stockings are (new to Michael, Aaron & me - Emma already had one). 

So - have you ever used stocking holders like these? Do they work? If not, what do you use? I usually line my mantle with Nutcrackers - I collect them - and I think these would fit easily in between them as well on the mantle and not take away room needed. And I have large candy canes like these that I put on our tree, too so it would bring the mantle & the tree together some, too!!! And the best part is the price - they are only $16.95 for a set of 4! Can't beat that - I found a beautiful NOEL set a couple weeks ago, but it was over $50!! I couldn't see paying that for it...

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 8

I'm sure I'll catch flack for this, but two of the things I really don't like about the holidays are the putting up and taking down of the decorations. I know a lot of people say the taking down is yucky, but most people don't mind the putting up part! My thing is I don't like to take down & pack up existing decorations/room decor to make room for Christmas decorations - so what's seem to happen over the years is that other than the tree I've really culled through my decorations and don't seem to have as much out each year anymore. I know some people that completely empty the rooms in their homes of everything that is out and then store them away to make room for holiday decorations. 

Does that make me a scrooge???? 

Maybe this year I'll try it - I'll take down everything & put them in their own storage containers - get my mantle and everything else 100% cleared off and start fresh with Christmas decorations - instead of trying to work them in together. We'll see!! We haven't started decorating yet, though. Emma's birthday is the 3rd and her party is the 4th at home, so I always try to wait until after her b'day to put up decorations - I just don't want her birthday to disappear into Christmas over the years - I want it to be separate and special for her!



{Topics}

Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY  (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: New Year Resolutions
Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outdoor)
Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 14: Oprah's Favorite

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 7

For today's challenge, I'm going to nibble off Ty's  of posting things I wish I could make!! One or two I am sure I could manage, though! I'm not original at all when it comes to the crafty stuff, but I love to get ideas from all of you!!

My sister actually gave me this idea when we were all back home this weekend for Thanksgiving. She had all the kids running around picking up acorns to put in a dish she has as a candle holder - I think it should look something like this:
I don't know if she planned to put the cranberries in hers, but I really like the color variety of this one!!

I actually have a plain green wreath at home & every year I re-decorate it and place it on my mantle with a wreath holder I got from my sisters. I don't hot glue or wire anything in place b/c when I take down my decorations I pull everything out of it b/c I know I'll want something different the next year.

I would love to be able to put together something like this beautiful wreath, though - I love the music paper ribbon!

But the one thing I look for every year is a great way to display my Christmas cards. I could buy a holder (there are tons of cute ones out there), but would much rather come up with a creative DIY version instead! Maybe something like this"

One year I did recycle all my cards from previous years & made ornaments like these - they were actually fun to make!


{Topics}

Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY  (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: New Year Resolutions
Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outdoor)
Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 14: Oprah's Favorite

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 6

I have always kept an Amazon Wish List (listed on my sidebar,too) bc whenever people would ask what I wanted for bdays or Christmas I could never think of anything. The wishlist is great bc as I shop for stuff through the year I would add things to my wishlist then if people asked I would just direct them to my wishlist!
In recent years though it's been hard to say I want this or that for me bc I tend to only shop for my kiddos lately. Even when I get gift cards now that are meant for my use I end up spending them on Emma or Aaron. I think most moms are guilty of this!!
That being said I still update my wishlist - and that's exactly what it is - a WISHlist. Meaning along with the reasonable stuff I also add the pricey stuff that I would love to have - like the couple of lenses I have on there that are over $1,000!!! No I don't expect to get those, but I can wish, right!!!!
Soooo...if you don't check out my list here are a couple of things I'd love to get from Santa:
Perfume - Chanel No. 5 please!
A Shark Handheld Steamer
Wii Gaming System
MacBook - complete with CS3 and Lightroom (I have them on my PC, but would love to go back to a Mac)

{Topics}

Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY  (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: New Year Resolutions
Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outdoor)
Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 14: Oprah's Favorite Things: What item(s) would you want if you were in the audience?

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 5

My favorite holiday movie is a bit of a cliche - but it's true - it's my favorite...A Christmas Story!!! I love this movie! It's hilarious and I laugh each time just like it's the first time seeing it!!
I love the lamp - I've seen so many novelty toys made in the shape of this lamp and I've always been so tempted, but never bought one!
And the soap scene - or rather the scene where Ralphie's mom has to call his friend's mom to let her know his son said a bad word - though in reality the kid was innocent, but he got beat, too!! Poor thing is screaming over the phone line!!

The movie is a classic!!! It's fantastic!




{Topics}

Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY  (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: New Year Resolutions
Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outdoor)
Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 14: Oprah's Favorite Things: What item(s) would you want if you were in the audience?

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 4

I think one of the biggest changes we've made lately to help the budget side of the holidays is that we've just had to make the decision NOT to buy for every single person we know or are related to...after all it isn't about the presents, right! Some families draw names, others just play the game (we do that as I've mentioned in another day on the challenge), some families have other traditions related to gift giving. We have drawn names before, but as our family has grown it's pretty much been decided that other than playing the game, the gifts will just be for the kiddies and the adults really don't need anything else. That may sound sad, but actually it's made it better b/c in my opinion we concentrate on the real meaning of the holidays and not the material & commercial side of it...now, don't get me wrong. We still buy a few presents, but our lists have just really been culled down to be more reasonable. Now the holidays are more about the fellowship and the together time with family & friends that makes the holidays so special.

Another thing I have to say I do now is shop online - I know that isn't anything new to anyone, but I bet at least 75% of my shopping these days are done online. It saves so much - time, money, sanity!!! The problem it creates is that if I buy something too early, I have a hard time hanging on to it until Christmas!! LOL! I love to order things online b/c when it shows up on the doorstep a week or two later it's almost like I'm getting a gift - even if it isn't something for me personally!!!


I love shopping on Amazon.com - it's my go to place for all my shopping. Anytime there is something I want to buy Amazon is the first place I go to compare prices. And usually shipping is free if you spend $25, which isn't hard to do at all...and if I don't have $25 worth of merchandise I usually just keep things in my shopping cart until they add up to $25.

One last thing I try to do to help the November/December spending is that throughout the year when I buy a birthday present for someone, if that is a person that I usually buy a Christmas present for I try to pick out two things for them...then I just put one away in the closet so it's there ready for me to wrap up for Christmas. I can't wrap it early, though b/c chances are I'll forget what it is!! Ha ha!! But spreading out the spending really helps a lot! And if I run upon a good sale going on earlier in the year that's great Christmas shopping!! 






{Topics}

Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY  (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: New Year Resolutions
Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outdoor)
Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 14: Oprah's Favorite Things: What item(s) would you want if you were in the audience?

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 3

I'm late for today's challenge - but I'm only on my phone bc we are out of town so typing out long posts take a little longer than normal and I haven't had a whole lot of free time!!

As a kid I remember on year my parents bought me a stereo with my first CD player when they came out - I think I was in the 7th grade (now don't go doing the math to figure how old hat makes me)!! I remember being soooo excited about that stereo. And it had a cute, tiny remote. Yes I called a remote cute! It was!! Ha ha! I wish I could find it, but. I know there is a picture of me somewhere when I opened the remote!! That was a very cool - exciting gif for me as a teenager.

The gifts that carry the most meaning though I think would have to be the family gifts that my Grannie has passed down through the years. One year I got a chip/dip set made of blue glass that belonged to my grandparents when they first got married - and that was in the 1930's!! I don't just set it up on a shelf either! I used it quite often. If I were at home I'd take a picture to share! Maybe when we get home I'll take some pics & do a post about these gifts from Grannie.

My PawPaw died when I was 7 and I was vey close to him. I love these gifts bc they make me feel a little more connected to them when they were young - like they are a glimpse into my grandparents' life from the early years!!


{Topics}

Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY  (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: New Year Resolutions
Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outdoor)
Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 14: Oprah's Favorite Things: What item(s) would you want if you were in the audience?

12 Days of Christmas Challenge: Day 2


Ha ha! The only tip I have regarding Black Friday is to stay home!!! I've only shopped on Black Friday once in my life and I only went to one store!! I'm anxious to read everyone else's tips though - maybe then I'd be more likely to go!

{Topics}

Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY  (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: New Year Resolutions
Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outdoor)
Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 14: Oprah's Favorite Things: What item(s) would you want if you were in the audience?

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 1



Every year for the holidays our family gets together in our hometown around New Years. We have a HUGE family - there were 45 present this year for Thanksgiving and that was missing a lot. NY in recent years has been the best time to try to get most everyone together. Most families play "the game" so I'm sure you're familiar with the rules, but the variation we do for our family is that the gift has to be home made. It's pretty cool to see what everyone comes up with. We have everything from holiday crafts to pies or jerky (my hubby) to wood work. It's always a lot of fun to see the ideas plus to watch everyone conspire with each other to get the one they want!! Ha ha!!


{Topics}

Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY  (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: New Year Resolutions
Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outdoor)
Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 14: Oprah's Favorite Things: What item(s) would you want if you were in the audience?

My Little Turkey

GOBBLE! GOBBLE!

Yesterday Michael & I got to have lunch with Emma at her school & do a craft with her! It was a lot of fun and so cute to see all the kids playing & wearing their turkey hats. When they came into the cafeteria for lunch they all lined up against the wall first...
Then they sang us a couple of Thanksgiving songs...

I didn't know they were going to perform for us...it was so cute!! Our first performance of many to come I am sure!!
(this wasn't part of the performance! LOL)
  After they sang to us we all got to sit down & eat Turkey & dressing lunch.

 After lunch we left and the kids went back to their classroom - but all the parents were invited back for art time - so around 3:00 we headed back to help make their art projects - this time we brought Aaron, too!
Felicia came, too since Carlton is in class with Emma!

 Daddy helping Emma with her feathers!
Peaking through her Thanksgiving wreath!
 Carlton's finished project!
 The Kubeczka's!!! Aaron was more worried about chewing on Tigger (he has a tooth coming in that is giving him a very hard time).
She was so excited we were there!!!

Actually - after lunch it was a little sad b/c all the parents had to leave & nearly every child started crying (include Emma & Carlton) b/c they didn't want us to leave or wanted to go with us...they didn't really care that we were coming back in a couple hours. Their teacher said that happened every time, though & shortly after they were all fine! And even MORE excited when we showed up the second time for art!!

Merry Christmas (to Bloggers) from Shutterfly

Shutterfly is doing an amazing offer this year for Bloggers!! They are giving away holiday cards this year...and just for us Bloggers - how cool is that!?!? 

I love sending out Christmas cards! Before I had kids I just bought cute little Christmas cards to mail out to friends and family. After my babies were born, though that all changed – I wanted to show them off, of course!!! 

Emma was born December 3rd, 2006. Mother had crocheted a beautiful shawl for her to wear home from the hospital since it was cold weather. When she was all wrapped up and ready to go I took this sweet picture of her before we left the hospital (see she still had the hospital hat on)…
I love this picture. 
I think it is adorable!! 

We were only a few weeks away from Christmas when we brought our little blessing home and not only did I need to get Christmas cards out, I needed to get announcements made as well to introduce Emma to our family and friends. So…for our 2006 Christmas cards I used the picture from the day we came home from the hospital and along with saying Merry Christmas to everyone we also introduced them to Emma Grace – the perfect Christmas present!!

Aaron wasn’t born close to the holidays like Emma, but now that he is here he will share the spotlight on our Christmas card this year for the first time with his big sister!!! I've been going through pictures trying to decide which pictures I'd like to use and taking tons more to pick the right pictures!! This year I think I might do a few pictures to show what my babies have been doing this year!

Besides Christmas Photo Cards, Shutterfly also has great gifts in their store. I think some of my favorite Shutterfly products are the keychains so I can always carry around my babies as well as the calendars! I am a calendar freak - it's actually an addiction. I have multiple calendars - on my desk, the walls, my padfolio, my phone, my computer - and they all get updated and used all the time! For those on my desk or the walls I love to be able to put pictures on them and even the calendars I use on my desktop! Go check them out!!

Don't Forget to Set Your DVR

Because tonight...

PLUS
EQUALS

AN AWESOME SHOW!!

I love the PW and BF - I can't wait to see them go head to head tonight & it's going to be out at the lodge, too! Another cool reason to watch, b/c pictures are one thing, but it will be cool to see it on television!

WILW

I am LOVING that my office is in boxes! Did I tell you I got a new job?? No, I guess I didn't! I'm still at the same company, but I am moving to another group. My office move is tomorrow, but I don't officially start with the new group until November 29th! I'll still be doing a bit of what I am doing now, but in a different capacity! I work with planning and budgeting for our company!

And I'm LOVING that the new job comes with a promotion!!! Very awesome! I am LOVING that I'll be moving back up high in the building - I'll be on 27 (I'm on 6 right now). I was on 28 a long time ago (we have 30 floors) and I like the view from way up high!! 

I am also LOVING that Michael & I get to have Turkey Dinner with Emma at her school tomorrow for lunch and then come back later to do a craft with her! She is going to be thrilled - she doesn't know her daddy is coming, too! I LOVE surprises!

What are you LOVING today? Link up with Jamie!!

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