Thursday, December 15, 2011

Deck the Halls!!!

It's so funny how decorating for Christmas can make you feel like a kid again!  The anticipation of such a fun holiday, with an important meaning and a time to spend with those you love - it's almost too much to handle!  Stephen and I are both very excited to celebrate our first Christmas back in Kentucky!  With our move, decorating proved to be both fun and tiring all at the same time.  We spent a lot of time trying to find the boxes of decorations, and are still coming up empty handed with some things that we can't seem to find.  Until then, take a look at our Christmas, 2011 decorations:

Our Mantle - I bought an amaryllis to put in the lefthand's not proving to be exactly what I was looking for.  More to come on that later...

 Our Decked out and Fa-La-La-La-La-ed Family Room

 We decided to park our tree right in front of the french doors leading into the Office.  Our reasoning behind this was that then the tree could be seen from the front of the house, and we don't really go in and out of those doors often, anyways.  So far, we haven't regretted that decision one bit..minus not having a good spot to hide put the ugly much loved ornaments...

 A view of our Family Room with me standing in the corner looking onto the Kitchen.  I made our Christmas pillows last year (ribbon pillow, stenciled pillows, button pillow) and have some other pillow projects up my sleeves!

A view of the bookcase to the left of the fireplace.  I put leftover ornaments all over the shelf, as well as pine cones that I crazily collected on UICs campus in the middle of July :)

A view of the bookcase to the right of the fireplace - again, ornaments and pinecones wherever I could find room
Do you remember our Christmas Card display from our Chicago Apartment?  I found a perfect spot for this in our Kitchen on our Basement door.  It was crazy to put the ribbon on this door and see how much shorter it is than our door in Chicago - our ceilings and doorways aren't quite as high as they were there!

That's all the halls I'll be decking tonight.  I've got to get some sleep so that I have some form of patience for the kiddies tomorrow.  Are you all geared and reared up for this wonderful holiday season???

Take a look at our Christmas, 2010 decorations here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wreaths for the Windows

I've been itching to decorate our house for Christmas for the past 3-4 weeks now.  I knew that we had tons of Christmas decorations for the inside of our house, but when it came to the outside, we were coming up short.  I was trying to think of ways to decorate that would be good on the budget and I knew that my love of wreaths would be a great way to make a costly compromise.

I headed off to Wal-Mart and snagged four 24 inch plain wreaths for $4 a wreath.  I knew I wanted pops of color on each wreath so I whisked away with 26 red, shatterproof ornaments for $5 and 26 silver shatterproof ornaments for $5.  I also got me some red, sparkly ribbon (100 feet) from Target for $10 to make me some bows for these said-wreaths.  Total cost spent (with ribbon and ornaments left over: $36).  I immediately got to work, pulling and twisting on the wreaths to open them up and make them more full.  I then strategically attached 6 ornaments on the front of the tree and then called my mom over for reinforcement.  I have one of these handy-dandy EZ Bow makers:

that I needed some help maneuvering.  We immediately got to work and she whipped out 4 great wreath bows for me while I attached them to the wreaths.  When it was all said and done, we had 4 great looking wreaths (if I do say so myself) to attach to our windows:

Here it is in all it's glory, hanging by way of a jumbo suction cup (it still hasn't fallen yet - praying they hold all season!) on our window:

So....what do you think?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A trip back to our first home!

A couple of weeks ago, Stephen and I trucked it back to Chicago for the first time since we moved.  The whole time we were driving in, we were getting misty-eyed and nostalgic, missing our beloved city.  That came to a screeching halt when we drove around for an hour looking for a spot to park our car!  Parking is DEFINITELY not something I miss about that city!  
We stayed with our good friends, Matt and Amy and yet, somehow, we didn't get a picture with them! How does that happen?!  We enjoyed catching up with friends, and pretending like we still lived there.  We drove past our old apartment, and got really sad.  It's so funny because I went kicking and screaming to Chicago, and then was so sad to leave it.  You can read more about that here.  

I made sure I went into the Walnut Room at Macys to see their annual Christmas was only a year ago when Stephen's sister and her husband came up to visit us and we enjoyed the Walnut Room for dinner with them...seems like yesterday!

The BEST part of Macys at Christmas: Holiday Lane!

The entrance....I felt like such a tourist.

Macys on State Street.  Have I mentioned that I love Chicago???

 Stephen and I on the Michigan Avenue Bridge overlooking Trump Tower and the Chicago River.  We have a picture of the two of us on this bridge 6 years ago before we were dating.  He always says, "that's when you hated my guts..."  He's a funny one!

One of the biggest reasons we ventured to Chicago: our good friends Mike and Amanda had a sweet little baby, Baby Emma!  She is TOOO cute!  

On Sunday, before we split town, Stephen and I got to have lunch with our Small Groups.  I was so happy to spend some time loving on, being loved on, and catching up with these amazing ladies in my life!!! 

All in all, it was a great trip!  It went by way too quickly, but it was much needed for my heart and soul.  I miss Chicago a lot.  I miss what our life looked like up there, our church, and our family of friends.  I know that we're in a great place now and that we're where God has called us, but it sure has been hard!  I'm looking forward to visiting again and again and again, and to all the new memories and good times that will be had here in our New/Old Kentucky Home :).

Monday, December 12, 2011


Yeah, I know - it's December 12 - why am I posting about Thanksgiving?  Well, because my body still thinks it's November despite what I keep telling it!  As a result, I'm just now getting around to sharing my Fall decorations with you :).
This year, Stephen and I had the pleasure of hosting my families' Thanksgiving at our new house.  I was so excited to have everyone come over and hang out - I knew that this was what was going to make our house feel more like home (I know, gang me, but it's true!).  Thankfully, I've been loving fall for a long time now and so I had plenty of fall decorations and table linens already.  However, in our Chicago Apartment, we only had a dining room table.  In our new house, we have been blessed with the room for a kitchen table and a dining room for a dining room table (which we inherited from my parents).  So, when I knew that Thanksgiving was going to be over here, my mom and I trucked it to Kohls and we got some good deals on linens to adorn our dining room table.  I was also excited because this would be the first time we used our wedding "china".  I say "china" because Stephen and I didn't actually register for china because we know that eventually, one day far, far away, my mom is going to give us her china.  However, we did register for what I call our "fancy dishes" from PB (the emma dishes) to use whenever our Fiestaware was just too much for the occasion.  This was an occasion that the Fiestaware needed to tone it down a bit!
We were hosting my immediate family (mom, dad, sisters and their husbands - and also Little Elliott of course) as well as my Aunt and Uncle from Bowling Green.  With that being said, there were 10 of us total so 4 would sit at the kitchen table and 6 at the dining room table.
Our kitchen table all decked up for Fall, wearing her reversible fall table runner and place mats that I made last year.  I wanted needed some burnt orange napkins to go with the whole she-bang and scored big time when I found a set of 6 pumpkin fabric napkins at JoAnns for $2 a pack - yes, please!

 A close-up of the table all set.

Here's a close-up of a place setting.

In the dining room, I reeeeaaaalllly wanted this table runner from Crate and Barrel, but just couldn't bring myself to spend the $50 on it.
I was pretty pumped when I found one at Kohls that looked pretty similar only with olive branches on it for a MUCH better cost (I think it was like $15) than the one at Crate and Barrel.  You might also notice that we've painted our dining room....more to come on that, later!

 Our dining room table wearing her new table cloth, runner and wine colored napkins, all ready for Thanksgiving!

A close-up of the set table.

One of our emma place settings - sorry for the turned picture!

I loved decorating for the season, but I also loved baking and preparing just as much!  My sisters, mom and I tagged team the efforts for our big Thanksgiving Feast and it was a success (if I do say so myself!)!  My mom bought the turkey and I had the honor of preparing it and roasting it.  If you've never done this, please know that it is incredibly disgusting!  I immediately got on the phone with my mom and my mother-in-law and thanked them for graciously doing this every year!  My mom also made a beef dish (for all those none turkey goers out there) and pecan squares for dessert.  My sister Melissa made a killer goat cheese and beet salad, as well as an amazing pumpkin, gingerbread trifle - a true pinterest success!  My sister Laurel made my mom's famous cheese grits, as well as her spinach casserole.  I made (with the help of all listed above) mashed potatoes, Southern Living's cornbread stuffing (to-die-for) as well as a tasty brie appetizer (recipe compliments of Melissa).  My Aunt brought her sweet potato soufflĂ© as well as her cherry fluff.  Needless to say, we were all holding our bellies and wallowing around for a bit after the meal :).  

If I had to pick, my favorite Thanksgiving dish is my mom's cheese grits.  I know that may not sound Thanksgiving-ish to you, but boy does it scream Thanksgiving to me!  What about you - what's your favorite dish?  Anybody else out there from the south and enjoy some good grits on T-day?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I can still post about fall decorations....right???

I had so many things that I wanted to share with you, and before I knew it it was December.  How'd that happen?!?!?!?  It just didn't seem right to share with you our Christmas decorations without sharing our Fall Decorations, so despite the tardiness, here they are!  If you're interested in seeing our fall decorations from last year in our Chicago apartment, click here.
Fall is easily, hands down, my favorite season of the year.  There's something about the air turning from hot and muggy to crisp and cool that gets me excited.  I would be lying if I told you I didn't like smelling the faint scent of smoke from a good fire or hearing the band practicing for Friday night's big game (assuming you live somewhere close to a college or high school).  I love the anticipation of the holidays and the excitement that comes to my mom and husband as they gear up for football season.  So, with all that being said, needless to say, I love to decorate for fall!
 I love having the bookshelves on either side of our fireplace - the decorating capabilities are endless!

 A close-up of the fireplace.  If you like the wheat bundle on the left side of the mantel, I made it last year and blogged about it here if you're interested in making one for next year.  

 The bookshelf to the left of the fireplace.  I made the fall artwork in the upper righthand side of the bookshelf a couple of years ago and blogged about it here.  The greatest thing about this artwork is that you can make it for any season or with any cutout you'd like.  

 To the right of the fireplace

Do you remember my fall pillow that I made with my friend Amanda last year?  Read about how to make your own, here.

Our coffee table.  I snagged the candy corn dish at Kohls this year for $1.50.  I was so excited to bring it home to my candy fiend husband!

The entire falled out family room!
Did you really think I was done? :)
This was in the kitchen, next to our 'fridge.  I got the small pumpkin thinking I would paint it and decorate it with a monogram...that didn't happen.  Maybe next year???

Our hall bath downstairs.  The fern wallpaper wasn't my doing - please remember to only look at the fall decorations in this picture :)

Whelp, there it is - my homage to fall!  I feel a lot better about sharing Christmas decorations now that I've shared my fall ones!
Are you all decorated for Christmas????

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Card Picture Preview

My sister snapped some pictures of Stephen and I in front of our new digs.  Enjoy the slideshow and help me pick the picture that should adorn the front of our Christmas card :).
Choice #1:
These next 2 won't be on the front...but they could make an appearance somewhere in our cards...
Stephen is claiming in this next picture that we're #1! 

So, what do you think?  Which one would you like to see hanging from your 'fridge; sitting on your mantel; in your Christmas card display?  I need help! What about you - are you sending personalized Christmas cards this year???

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Cards

Can you believe that it's already that time of year again?!  As much as I love Christmas, it's hard to believe that I'm already getting the tree out of the basement and making my Christmas card list!  I love receiving Christmas cards in the mall from all of our family and friends.  My favorite kind of Christmas card is one with a picture of my loved ones on it.  The reason I love that kind so much is because I display my cards in our home and the picture reminds me of those people every time I look at it!  Because I like getting picture Christmas cards so much, I find myself sending picture Christmas cards of Stephen and I's kind of a tradition.  If you weren't around these parts last year, here's a picture of how I displayed our cards last year (and plan on doing again...):
As you can see, if you send me a card with your picture on it, you're hanging up for all to see :)

One of my favorite card/invitation shops, tinyprints has amazing personalized Christmas cards that you can choose from!  I highly suggest you head on over there by clicking here to check out their 2011 Christmas Card line-up.  I would also highly suggest that you help me choose my 2011 Christmas card from all the great choices :).  Stephen and I love to get Christmas cards that reflect the true meaning of Christmas; the fact that Jesus came to this world to save us from our sins.  In saying that, all of the choices that I'm looking at are religious Christmas cards.
Choice number 1: Smooth Sincerity: I really like the gray and how elegant this card is.  I also like what it says: O holy night, the stars are brightly shining.  O Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas songs.

Choice number 2: Triumphant Type: I like how this card also incorporates a Christmas song, as well as the Christmas color-scheme.  I also really like the font.

Choice number 3: Angels Sing: Again, simplistic, elegant and a great Christmas song. 

Choice number 4: Blessings Be Yours: Even though there won't be a picture of a babe on the front cover of our Christmas card, I think that this card is my favorite of the 4.  I really like the message on both the front and the back, I also like how there is green, red and white but not in an over-the-top kind of way.  

I also love tinyprint's "New Classics" line and would take any and all cards from this collection!

You should go and check out tinyprint's Christmas photo cards and let me know what your favorite is...only after you tell me which one I should choose, of course :)!
Happy Christmas card browsing!