Simply My Favorite Vase

Simply My Favorite Vase

Do you ever purchase something and end up using it more than you thought possible? I feel like more often than not, I buy something and really don’t get good use out of it. So, I wanted to share something that I love and have already used a ton! 

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I saw this Taylor Hurricane at Crate and Barrel in the fall of last year, and I loved it right away because of its price and simplicity. There are endless ways you can use this vase to decorate! I used three of them for our Christmas centerpiece on our kitchen table, but then used one for Valentine’s and also repurposed it yet again for Easter.

I filled each hurricane with a red flameless LED candle and mini ornaments from Target. I wrapped some garland (found at Hobby Lobby) around the three jars to tie it all together.

For Valentine’s Day, I used the same candle and added little heart ornaments (from Hobby Lobby).

And for Easter? Simple as little plastic eggs for a filler! It adds some nice color to the table and seems slightly more “sophisticated” than a basket.

I love the simplicity of this vase and already anticipate many more uses as the seasons of decorating change!

Advent

Advent

I love Christmas. I mean, seriously, love. You can ask my family and they will tell you I have been counting down the days until Christmas since October! With that said, it’s not surprising that I really enjoy the season of Advent, as well. There are three traditions we are following this year (one of them new to us), and I am excited to share them with you.

Joseph & Mary’s Journey to Bethlehem

(I can not take credit for the originality of this idea, as I stole it from my mother, so she gets all the credit on this one!)

When we were little, my mom would take Mary, Joseph and the donkey out of our nativity set and put them at the end of the hallway on December 1st. Each day, me and my two sisters would take one of the pieces and move it a little bit farther down the hall (my mom would instruct us how far we should move them each day). On Christmas Eve, they would all “arrive” at the stable (on the fireplace in our living room) and their journey would be complete. Baby Jesus was also left out of the nativity scene until Christmas Eve, and we would then each take turns placing Him in the manger. Some of my favorite childhood pictures are seeing myself each year as a little girl, in my Christmas Eve jammies, placing baby Jesus in the manger.

I have been wanting to do this advent activity with Madalyn and this year she is old enough to finally start grasping some of the concepts of the Christmas Story. So, our Joseph and Mary started their journey to Bethlehem today!

Advent Calendars

I have two Advent calendars that we are currently using. The first, I made myself (if you want to try and make your own, check out my post from last year on how to do it!). This one consists of Bible verses that walk through the Christmas story. Pretty simple!

The other calendar that I have up this year I purchased from Naptime Diaries (you can find it here). It is 25 mini prints and they are beautiful! I hung mine using jute and mini paperclips in an empty picture frame (from Hobby Lobby). I LOVE it!

25 Christmas Books

I love to read, and so does our little Madalyn. She is a nonstop reader. If we could sit and read books to her all day long, she would be in complete heaven! I saw an idea on Pinterest to wrap up 25 Christmas books and unwrap one each night to read together. I wrapped each book and will keep them in a little basket out by the Christmas tree for the remainder of the Christmas season.

I had a few Christmas books from when I was little stored in our Christmas boxes, and Maddy had a few from last year, but I did have to buy some new ones this year too.  I tried to pick ones that weren’t about Santa and more about Jesus, but there are a few exceptions because that is actually a really hard task! I thought it might be helpful to list the books out for you so you can see which ones we are using. I had a hard time finding good books and I am really excited about all of these and can not wait for Madalyn to open up one of them tonight!

  1. “Humphrey’s First Christmas”: Carol Heyer
  2. “Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift”: Max Lucado (I looove the whole Punchinello series!)
  3. “Christmas Parade”: Sandra Boynton
  4. “The Something Wonderful, A Christmas Story”: Karen Hill
  5. “The Tale of Three Trees”: Angela Elwell Hunt
  6. “The Crippled Lamb”: Max Lucado
  7. “Bear Stays Up for Christmas”: Karma Wilson
  8. “Olivia Helps with Christmas”: Ian Falconer
  9. “Room for a Little One, A Christmas Tale”: Martin Waddall
  10. “Song of the Stars, A Christmas Story”: Sally Lloyd-Jones
  11. “Happy Birthday Jesus”: Michelle Medlock Adams
  12. “God Gave Us Christmas”: Lisa Tawn Bergren
  13. “J is for Jesus, the Sweetest Story Ever Told”: Crystal Bowman
  14. “The Littlest Christmas Tree”: Janie Jasin
  15. “Merry Christmas Mom and Dad”: Mercer Mayer
  16. “Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect”: Richard H. Schneider
  17. “Who is Coming to Our House?”: Joseph Slate
  18. “Christmas in the Manger”: Nola Buck
  19. “The Story of Christmas”: Patricia A. Pingrey (This was Maddy’s favorite book last year!)
  20. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”: Charles M. Schulz
  21. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”: Dr. Seuss
  22. “The Polar Express”: Chris Van Allsburg
  23. “The Animal’s Christmas Eve”: Golden Book
  24. “Fisher-Price Little People Christmastime is Here!”
  25. “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey”: Susan Wojciechowski

I hope these simple ideas get you in the Christmas spirit! Happy December 1st!

xo,

Abby

 

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DIY Advent Calendar

DIY Advent Calendar

DIY Advent Calendar

Christmas is hands-down my favorite holiday. I love the lights, the snow, the cookies, the movies, the music and most of all, the family togetherness that it brings. Since becoming a mom, it has been very important to me that we have family Christmas traditions that Madalyn and any future children can depend on.

I have the absolute most amazing memories of Christmas growing up, which is why I think I love it still so much today. Some of my favorite things were:

  • Decorating. We always decorated the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone in the whole family was involved — even when we are all in high school, we still decorated as a family. We drank Egg Nog and listened to Amy Grant’s Christmas album non-stop!
  • Candy Cane Lane. Not too far away, there are some streets of houses that go all out with their outdoor Christmas decorating. We used to pile up in the car each year and go see all the beautiful lights and decorations. So much fun!
  • Christmas cookies for breakfast on Christmas morning! I am not going to lie — this is one tradition Bryan and I still practice. 🙂

I could probably write a book about all the wonderful things we did as a family at Christmas. One thing that stands out in my mind is how much my parents emphasized that Jesus was the #1 priority for celebrating the season. We received three gifts each Christmas to symbolize the three gifts that the wise men brought baby Jesus. We read the Christmas story and books that focused on His birth. We sang Christmas songs and carols both at church and at home. And each Christmas season, we would take Joseph and Mary from the nativity scene and they would “journey” down the hallway on their way to Bethlehem. They would move just a little bit each day and by Christmas Eve they would reach the stable. My sisters and I would each take a turn and place baby Jesus in the manger. I really believe these things are what made me, even at a really young age, know how meaningful the birth of our Savior was.

Growing up, we also celebrated Advent. We had a couple of Advent calendars that we would go through each year, and when I asked one of my sisters if she had one of them the other day, she began to quote the first few phrases behind the doors — years later, it is still ingrained in our memories!

I was feeling crafty and wanted to create an Advent calendar for our family this year. Here is what I came up with:

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This was not a time-consuming project, and if you are looking for a calendar but haven’t found one that works for you yet, I encourage you to try to make something similar!

Supplies Needed:

  • Canvas (24×36) (Hobby Lobby)
  • Fabric (1 yard) – your choice! (Hobby Lobby)
  • Library card pockets and shipping tags (I purchased mine from Etsy. You can find the pockets here and the shipping tags here. This seller has the pockets and tags in tons of different colors, so you can choose whatever works for you!)
  • Ribbon (Hobby Lobby)
  • Glue dots (I used Glue Linens, 1 inch)
  • # stickers for the dates (Hobby Lobby)
  • Hot glue gun and glue

Instructions:

  • Cover your canvas with fabric. I used hot glue to attach the fabric and it has stayed put without a problem.

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  • Attach the library card pockets. I used the Glue Linens to attach each pocket. I used three dots for each pocket to make sure that they stuck. If you use a heavier tag in the pocket, you may need something more heavy-duty to attach them. You will want to make sure to measure out the space you want in between each pocket and have enough room for the tag and ribbon on top. That’s why I used a larger canvas.

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  • Add the # stickers to each pocket. I love the white ones I got from Hobby Lobby because they go with the fabric, but there are probably a zillion options you can pick from.
  • Fill out our tags with your verses. I used the Focus on the Family website because I liked the verses they cited. However, some of the verses do get kind of lengthy and were hard to fit on one card, even using both sides. You could just write out the verse reference to save time and then use your Bible each day to read it. Or, as I’m thinking about doing next year, you could find a more kid-friendly advent verse. I think Maddy may struggle with the length of some of the verses, so I may switch out the tags next year for something more simple. We’ll see! (Simple Tip: Write down the corresponding number on the tag somewhere. Otherwise it might be hard to figure out what day you are on if things get mixed up!)

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  • Attach the ribbon to the top of the tag. I used hot glue to create a tab-like piece of the ribbon so it would be easy to pull in and out of the pocket.
  • Hang your canvas and enjoy celebrating Christmas with your family!

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Merry Christmas!

xo,

Abby

 

Looking for more?

Advent