28 November 2016

Christmas Front Door Decoration

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving! Last holiday season we were only partially living in our house. We would come after work and do projects, so really the time we spent together as a family was spent here. But we would sleep at the townhouse instead. It was a bit weird. We had Thanksgiving here at the house and decorated for Christmas and celebrated Christmas here even though we were still living at the townhouse mostly.

At some point over the holidays we started spending weekend nights here, I think it was actually Thanksgiving weekend. There was no heat turned on yet and no hot water, so it was more like camping. We couldn't shower here and we used the fireplace to warm the house the little bit that it did.


So this year really is our first year living here for the holidays. I have been looking at entryway holiday decorations for a few weeks, thinking about what I could do for the front of our house. It's a little odd because we have a traditional front door with a walkway that leads from a small parking area for guests. But it's not visible because it's on the side of the house and it has a portico around it so it is protected from the elements which is nice. But it offers zero curb appeal.

On the "front" of our house we have french doors going into our living room as well as a sliding glass door that leads into our family room. So it's very confusing for people coming to the house to figure out what door to go to. It's funny to find packages delivered to any of the different doors on any given day and watching people out the walls of windows try to figure out what door to come to is always a little weird.

I thought if we had guests over for get togethers over the holidays it would be great to welcome them into through the french doors rather than bringing them to the front door where the kitchen, dining room and living rooms all open up to each other. The french doors also open up to a small patio that faces the front of our house, so visually it definitely would be welcoming and pretty as the first impression of the home.

Next I decided to try to coordinate the three doors (two french doors and the front door) with wreaths or garlands or something. I got these great baskets from Cost Plus World Market (using coupons) that really will work for any season of the year. I I can see adding forsythia in late winter, lilacs in the spring, lavender in the summer months with red, white and blue ribbon, and fall maple leaves in their season. The sign on the front can easily be removed and something else tied onto the basket.

It was easy to choose this chalkboard sign for the front door. I got it at JoAnn Craft and Fabric and happily it was 60% off. But it's taking some time to figure out two coordinating signs or ornaments for the french doors. I'll share an "after" on the french doors once they are done.

The greenery came free, when The Man went with a friend who owns a rock and tree business to harvest Christmas trees for his Christmas tree lot here in our neighborhood. Much to my delight, when The Man came home he had brought me a stack of freshly cut pine boughs. He knows me well. I was gleeful! I gathered three bags of pine cones for craft projects from our side yard last week. I got three grocery store bags full of pinecones with a little work. Now I'm brainstorming all the fun projects I can do with them.

Hopefully I'll be able to share a few more holiday projects in the coming weeks. I'm mostly done with my holiday shopping already. Just need three more presents and to finish up stocking stuffers. But I'm really very close to done. The challenge in shopping early is stopping yourself from continuing to shop and shop through December.  Getting shopping done early, I am hoping to have more time for baking gingerbread cookies, going to holiday concerts and other events, and watching cheesy Christmas movies! Yay!

How are your holiday preparations going? Are you procrastinating? Just jumping into it? Already done?

23 November 2016

Thanksgiving Is Here

It's hard to believe the holiday season is already here. This year has truly flown by. It has definitely been a busy one filled with a few unexpected surprises and some wonderful blessings, both easily recognizable and some in disguise.




We  are just the three of us this year for Thanksgiving. My family is getting together at my sister's house a couple of states away. We did our big Thanksgiving shopping trip last night and got a cart full of food. Boy was I glad we had two fridges to put food in when we got home. As we were shopping it was quite hilarious to see men with one or two items in their carts or looking for odd items they'd been asked to bring to the meal. Some were buying drinks, others rolls. Then there were the women, who seemed to all be carrying long shopping lists and filling carts to overflowing with turkeys, vegetables, butter, whipped cream, spices and pies.

After trying to get out the door to get to the store for a couple of hours, The Man and I arrived in the grocery store parking lot and I realized I had forgotten my list. Yikes. I didn't say a word but just went to each department and tried to remember everything I needed.

We did pretty well getting everything on our list except for one item I forgot and one that was completely sold out. I wanted to try a tortellini soup recipe this week and realized I got home without buying the tortellini. Oops. And I wanted water chestnuts for the stuffing and had to get down on my hands and knees to reach the right shelf in the store and check to find out that there was not one can on the shelves.

So I made a quick stop at another store today on my way home from the gym. I have been trying to get kiddo cooking more and taking on more duties around the house. The tortellini soup recipe only takes 15 minutes an so I thought it would be great for her to make that for dinner tonight. Sounds so good with some salad and bread.

When I arrived home from the gym today our next door neighbor invited us over for Thanksgiving. So kind of her. Since we're already in process making dinner over here, we decided we'd try to catch up for dessert tomorrow or for leftovers on Friday. We have the best neighbors.

Even though there are only three of us who will sit down for dinner tomorrow we have four pies. Holy smokes. I think we'll be freezing some leftover pie and maybe having some friends over on Saturday.

I am looking forward to starting to decorate on Friday. I've been sitting on my hands all week to keep myself from getting in the attic and pulling Christmas decorations down. The Man is a purist, no Christmas before Thanksgiving. I've said it before but the best Christmas season I've ever had was the year I decorated the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. It was fantastic to have it done and just be able to relax all weekend and going into December.

Hoping to make some pinecone garlands this weekend too. Just need to get to the hardware store and buy some eye screws to attach to the base of the pine cones so I can attach them to a string. I'm planning on glittering some and may dipping some in paint. I've been trying to get there all week and it hasn't happened yet. Today, today. I think there will be a Star Wars marathon this weekend, knowing The Man.

We are thankful and happy for a chance to slow down and consider our many blessings this year. I've definitely been thinking more of those blessings the past few days. Sending you the very best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who will be celebrating this week.

*The image above is from our dining table looking out to west across our backyard and as far as you can see to the horizon. Our little Japanese Maple was so beautiful all week then Monday night a wicked storm blew threw and ripped most of the leaves off the tree. I was so glad I captured the photos I did before that.

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