Friday, January 16, 2015

Post Christmas ~ Finally!

I know, I know. We're 14 days into the new year. But if your December was anything like my family's, you are still trying to get back into the swing of normalcy also.  We had all of the typical December happenings, like tree trimming at Grandma & Grandpa's,  tamale making, cookie baking, Christmas shopping, my daughter's 10th birthday party, and two Christmas parties for Charming & me. On top of our typical December happenings we added a few new things this year, like a choir performance schedule and a gingerbread festival.
Tamale making with grandma & grandpa. The maza was flying!

Living in an apartment with limited space and now a large baby swing where our Christmas tree usually sat meant that this year there was going to be a lack of tree in our home.  I hated that.  It just didn't feel right not having our own tree...just a fiber optic one on our coffee table. Although, not cleaning up pine needles was a plus...and the girls hung candy canes galore on the fiber optic tree along with some homemade ornaments we did this year. (They smelled ahhhmazing!)

Baby boy enjoyed all of the lights, the smells and our traditional cocoa & Christmas light drive.  We get all bundled up, bring our cocoa mugs, a pump thermos full of hot cocoa, turn on the radio and drive around town looking at all of the Christmas lights on display in the neighborhoods.  This tradition was started the year my oldest daughter was turning 1...and we've done it every year since.  I have to say other than all of the baking that I do, this is my favorite family Christmas time tradition.

Yes, that is a GIANT inflatable reindeer peering over someone's back yard fence. It was tethered down like you wouldn't believe.

My biggest tip for making things a little lighter on your bank account during all of the Christmas shopping is to utilize SHOPKICK throughout the year.  Yes, if you don't already have it here is another app for you to put on your phone. It truly pays off though...SERIOUSLY! You get to redeem your points for instant gift cards to places that you most likely go to all the time.  Last year I redeemed over $150 just at Christmas time...not including all the redemptions I did in previous months!  (And I wasn't as diligent about it as I was the year before.) I love to yreat myself every one in awhile by redeeming for  a Starbucks instant gift card!  I use SHOPKICK all year long as I'm out and about.  We only live 5 minutes from the mall, so a stop in during the weekend when extra points are offered is an easy run in and out of the mall for me. You don't have to buy anything, just walk into one of the stores offering points!  Target and Walmart supply points to me all year long...with walk-ins and scanning certain items as I'm shopping.  I LOVE IT!!!  Anyway, that was my little bit of "here's free money for you".

My oldest daughter is all about Christmas, how could she not be? She's a Christmas Eve baby!  I love that she chose to have a Christmas themed birthday cake this year.  We had such fun decorating it with little Wilton cupcake toppers...which I got at a clearance price somehow!!! Look how cute it turned out!

This was the first year of choir performances to keep up on.  My Grace LOVES being in the choir (she's the one beaming at me in the photo)...and it brought us to a little gingerbread festival that we had no idea even happened in town. And don't even ask me what the Christmas pig was all about...I'm still trying to figure that out.
Some of the gingerbread houses were amazing!  I would have never tried to decorate the inside of one. We all had our favorites, which were the only ones I snapped pics of. Which one wins your vote? Think you could pull something like these off?

This was my favorite gingerbread house.  I couldn't believe how they had also done the inside of the house.  Mine have NEVER looked this pretty. Next year, next year is the year that mine steps up!
Face painting, a stop off at Target and then home for hair coloring...that was one busy Saturday for my clan.  They got to relax and mom got to hit the grocery store that evening...something doesn't seem quite fair about that, does it?
My little artist Rose could not just go with what the face painter offered...she had a special request to make her face look like a snowman.  The other kids in line knew as soon as the nose went on...and they all LOVED it.
My darling little Rose got the part she was ironically praying for in her 3rd grade performance...the angel.  She typically doesn't like the spotlight, so when she was so determined to get a speaking part in the performance I was shocked.  And she did such a good job too. 

I hope that you all had an amazing December with your families. I know that ours rushed by, but it was filled with plenty of happy new memories.

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