Christmas Vacation Christmas Card

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This was actually Tony’s idea. He pitched it for our Christmas card and I loved it! I was only introduced to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation a few years ago and I’ve loved it ever since. Of course to prep for the photos, we had to watch the movie in October to pick our shots.

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Tony, of course wanted the iconic moment of plugging in the lights. Easy enough to set up: you need an extension cord, winter wear and a ball cap.

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I chose the kitchen cleanup, with the added bonus of a guilty looking dog. This involves a little more setup: tipped over trash can, an empty trash bag and pieces of garbage. I made sure I had some non-disgusting trash to spread around my kitchen floor. I tried to include both dogs, but my husband’s dog took one look at the mess and ran away, afraid to get blamed I guess……

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Arthur’s was fun too, involving very little prep work. Take some lights and roll them up. I wrapped 3 strands of these lights around a winter hat to give it a fuller look. Then make sure you have a ski cap and you’re all set.

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Chiara’s I think was the cutest one, as far as least disastrous anyway! We did a little twist on Ruby Sue’s enjoyment of The Night Before Christmas.

All in all, Tony had a great idea for a Christmas card and it came out beautifully. Way to go honey!

Elf on the Shelf 2015: Installment Three

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It’s tough to see Iroh in the picture, but he put himself in the toilet paper roll and rolled around the tree a few times. The kids were completely dismayed at the mess he made.

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I had so much fun with this one! I got to dig into my Longaberger baskets and yarn collection. I used a balloon, taped to the ceiling, and a nail through the slats of my basket to pull this one off. The kids were amazed at Iroh’s engineering!

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The sack race was a big hit! Iroh pulled in a few of Chiara’s babies and set up a race across the kitchen, using paper bags. Chiara helped them finish the race after school.

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Iroh got into Chiara’s stickers. This was very funny because of Chiara’s reaction. I wish I would’ve had a camera ready to catch her shock. Her whole attitude was one of, “Those are my stickers!” She then peeled them off, declared them ruined and threw them away.

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Peeking at presents? That behavior will land you on the naughty list Iroh!

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Iroh making another pitch for oral health? I guess it must be important!

I can’t wait to see what Iroh does in his last week with us this year!

Holiday Cheer 2015

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Christmas has rolled around again. I’m never quite sure how it comes so fast, but I love it every year. We have our little family traditions that we’ve developed over the years, and some that we’re still adjusting to suit our family.
One tradition that we’ve been very consistent with is setting up our tree shortly after Thanksgiving. Depending on work schedules, we set up our tree sometime between the day after Thanksgiving and the first of December. We’re very serious about keeping our holidays separate. Halloween / Thanksgiving / Christmas. We don’t do Hallothanksmas!
Another tradition we’ve stuck to is a new ornament for everyone each year. As the kids have gotten older, they get to pick out their own, and they love it! We stick to Hallmark, as they have such beautiful ornaments.

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There are a few ornaments I get even though the kids don’t choose them. For instance, the Rapunzel ornaments, we’ve gotten them each year (I still need to get this year’s) because I love sets. We don’t exactly do themes for our trees, so it’s a nice eclectic look!

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Window snowflakes are a tradition that we started last year, and the kids love it! At first they looked a little silly because I was folding the paper weird. After a few forays onto Pinterest, I found a good folding technique to get these awesome six-pointed stars. Almost any time the kids get bored around Christmas, they’ll bring me paper and ask, “can I make a snowflake?”

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I think one of my current favorite traditions is our Elf on the Shelf, Iroh. He started visiting us last Christmas and the antics just keep going! It can be difficult with my new third shift schedule to keep him in motion, but it stays fun, especially with Pinterest to help me!

I don’t have a picture to go with this one, but it’s a tradition of ours that just sort of evolved since Arthur was little. Presents had to stay hidden, mainly because Mr. Man kept opening them, or tearing at the paper, like any child will at that age. The presents remained hidden until he went to bed on Christmas Eve. Now that the kids are five and eight, they know I have the presents in the basement. They’ve seen my wrapping station and even the pile of wrapped presents when helping me do laundry. It remains exciting though, even knowing they’re coming, to see that impact Christmas morning of all the presents “suddenly appearing” like magic!

Another one we started last year is the decorating of gingerbread houses. The kids loved this! We usually do it the week before Christmas so that we can demolish and devour them within a day or so of Christmas. I can’t wait to do this this year because Arthur is getting a train gingerbread kit!

I’d love to hear about different Christmas traditions you have with your family.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Elf on the Shelf 2014: Installment Three

Iroh has been up to some real shenanigans over the last six days. He’s quite the little stinker!

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He got into Arthur’s car collection and had them driving in circles.

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He set himself up in a swing facing the kids’ room. The kids thought this was really funny!

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Iroh managed to pick a fight with some of Arthur’s Lego men. They took care of that, in Gulliver Travels fashion, so the kids had to rescue him in the morning.

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Iroh apparently has a knack for starting trouble. He made Darth Vader mad enough to use the Force on him!

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After his encounter with Darth Vader, Iroh got out Arthur’s Star Wars coloring book and had himself a good time.

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Tomorrow morning the kids will find Iroh roasting marshmallows over a fire. I feel for the sake of safety I should mention DO NOT LEAVE THE CANDLE BURNING! I did light the candle for the picture, and I actually lit the first batch of marshmallows on fire…..

Elf on the Shelf: Installment One
Elf on the Shelf: Installment Two
Elf on the Shelf: Installment Four

Candy Sleighs

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So, I’ve been perusing Pinterest, like you do, and I have filled a board full of fun Christmas ideas. Not surprising with how many cute and fun ideas are available through that source! Sadly, this is one of those that I can’t reference exactly where this pin links too. It keeps sending me to indulgy.com, however I can’t find the actual craft on that site. Maybe I’ll find it the next time I try, if so I will come back and update!
I’m sure it’s come up before, but I work for Wal-Mart. I am an area supervisor and I have a specific team of people that work with me. I’ve never made gifts for my team before, but this year, I took advantage of the fact that I have a team, to make these awesome little sleighs!
The best part about these sleighs is that everything you need for them can be bought in bulk. That’s another reason these are great gifts for teams or large groups of people. I bought myself 4 packs of candy canes, 2 of the giant bags of assorted Hershey’s candy bars, 4 6-packs of Kit-Kat bars, some Christmas-y ribbon and 3 of the 10-pack mini bows, all of which I picked up at my Wal-Mart.
I did initially start out using Elmer’s glue to attach all of the pieces together, and to an extent, that works. I tried super glue as well, but believe me, you will want to a hot glue gun, especially if you have a porous ribbon, as I did.
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It helps to give yourself a plan before you break out the glue. I wanted to keep my layers all one type of candy, so I plotted my sleighs out. Once you have a plan, if you want one, you can use Elmer’s glue to connect your chocolates together. On top of your Kit-Kat, your first layer should be 4 small Hershey’s, then 3, 2, 1. Simple, yes? You’ll end up with something like this:
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Elmer’s glue will get you this far, but now it’s time to move onto a hot glue gun! Next step requires a little finger dexterity, or help from a friend. You need to hold both of your candy canes upright, like sleigh skis, and run a line of hot glue down the top of them. Once the glue is down, place your Kit-Kat on the two candy canes. You do need to move fast, because hot glue sets FAST!
After the hot glue has hardened, you can attach your ribbon. Run a piece under the sleigh lengthwise, then widthwise, including the candy canes in the width one. Once that glue has dried, you slap a bow on top and call it done!
I found it easier to work assembly-line style. I attached all the Hershey’s to the Kit-Kats and let them sit for about an hour. Then you can plug in your glue gun and attach them all to the candy canes. By the time the “skis” are all attached, you’re ready to start on the ribbons. It goes faster that way, and you get a better feeling with how much you’ve accomplished!
*Update* I was showing off to my mom about how I made these cute little sleighs and then I found out she had made something similar for people at her work. Check out her candy sleighs!
My mom's giant candy sleigh
These are cute and fun little gifts, so keep them in mind if you need something cute for co-workers or neighbors!

Christmas Kid Photos

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The holidays are coming and I get excited every year. I love the decorations, I love the food and I love watching my kids unwrap their presents like I have given them the keys to kingdom! Giving gifts is always so much fun for me! I usually try to start early in the year so I can get a little at a time. I don’t make enough to splurge right at the end! LOL!
Christmas cards are another thing I love about the holidays. I usually have an entire wall decked out with them before the holidays are over, and they stay up until New Year’s Day. I love devising our Christmas cards too. I thought, once upon a time, that I would create these wonderfully artistic, homemade cards for everyone on my list, but that has yet to happen. I do however, love taking the pictures that I use on our cards. If you’ve read any of my older blogs, you may’ve picked up on my love of photography. I don’t claim to be Ansel Adams or anything, but I’ve gotten some really great photos over the years.
This year, of course, I took my inspiration from Pinterest! Sadly, yet again, the link that for the picture was broken, so I can’t reference the original photo op. The original photo had a white backdrop, with two boys in red hats and plaid shirts, and the lights were unplugged and off. The kids also had duct tape over their mouths saying MERRY and CHRISTMAS. It was hilarious with the duct tape, and we did try, but I couldn’t get the words to show in the photo.
This was a great half hour spent with my kids, which at the end of the day is always my goal with photo sessions. They were giggling as I wrapped them up and stuck tape over their mouths. Before you start to get upset, I made sure the tape was barely sticky before I put it on their face. They ended up playing with it afterwards. I did try several outfits before deciding that pajamas worked best. I just loved the way they were glancing at each other too. Kind of a “this is all your fault” look. They were kind of sad to see me put the lights away, but we used them for other photos for our Christmas card.
If you try this, I would love to see your results! Keep the cords loose enough so it’s not hurting them obviously and have fun with it. I just cleared a space in front of my wall for a backdrop. Mainly because I don’t have a photo studio handy, but I do love the color we painted our walls. Try not to use your flash, especially if the lights will be plugged in for your photo. Play with the AV settings on your camera and bump up the ASO. It sounds really technical, but if I can figure this out, anyone can! Try to have a little bit of light coming from behind you when you’re taking the picture. That’ll ensure the photo is not too dark.
Happy holidays! Yes I know it’s not even Thanksgiving, but if you want to use this idea, you need to be taking these photos now for cards. So put yourself in a holiday mood!