Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas and a free printable (The True Meaning of Christmas)

Merry Christmas blog readers!
First off I want to start out by saying how incredibly grateful I am and how blessed my family has been this year. I knew that this year would be a year of sacrifices. After quitting my job a year ago and deciding to spend more time at home with the kids while they were still so young, we had to make a few changes to our budget. My paychecks, though they weren't much, were a lot of our "fun" money. Date nights, lunches with daddy during the week, quilting supplies and even vacation money. There have been many times this year when I had to explain to the kids that we "just couldn't right now" and to be grateful for what they have (not a bad conversation to have, just a tiring one). As the holidays were getting closer we got a blow to our pocket books and sat down with the kids to explain that it would be a small Christmas this year.
Shortly after this conversation with the kids, my husband, who is an attorney, got an unexpected and very surprising offer from a law firm who wanted him to start work for them around the new year. My husband has always had a good job that we have been very grateful for, but there wasn't a whole lot of opportunity for growth and he was feeling pretty stuck. That was our first Christmas surprise.    
(The kids in the lobby of daddy's new office)
We were blessed with a second surprise by the way of a paycheck bonus that came just in time and was very much needed. It was enough to clear some debts and buy some Christmas gifts. We could have our typical large Christmas after all... but we're choosing not to.
(Moving into daddy's new office)
Ok I admit, I did run out and buy a couple things for the kids and I will be giving my husband a Christmas gift this year after all, but this holiday season I've listen to my children discuss amongst themselves  how Santa has a lot of needy children he has to get presents for and we have plenty. The other day my son (who doesn't really "believe" in Santa anymore, but likes to pretend anyway) was telling his little sisters that there are children who are only getting things like socks and shoes for Christmas because they need them, so we should be grateful we are getting a toy.
There is no way I'm going to ruin this Christmas of sacrifice and appreciation for my children!
(This years Christmas pajamas for the girls. A gown for them and one for their doll. I found the pattern in THIS BOOK. Check to see if your local library has it... that's what I did)
My husband has always had work these past 6 years, he has always brought home a steady paycheck, and I willing quit my job to spend more time with my children, knowing that it maybe a tight but we could make due. We have worked hard and prayed hard that he would find opportunities to advance in his career and now he finds himself working at a great new firm with lots of exciting things in store for 2013. We have been so blessed.
I sincerely hope that all of you can find the gratitude and blessing that I have this season. But I know from some of our past Christmas things can be particularly scary this time of year. For those of you out there who are also having a small Christmas this year I hope you find peace and faith knowing that it will not last forever, you do not know what the future holds and the most memorable blessing usually come in the darkest hour.  
This Christmas we will focus more on Christ as we talk to the kids about the true meaning of Christmas. To help them remember, I've made up these little candy bags to place in their stockings.
Each candy represents a reminder about Christ and his love for us. You can save and print off a copy of my bag toppers below...
Merry Christmas friends and a Happy and Hopeful New Year!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Kids Craft, Owl Pinecone Ornament

I first saw this idea HERE and thought it was so cute!
One afternoon while the kids were home from school we headed to the park and gathered pine cones. Most of the pine cones we found were still closed, but did you know you can force pine cones to open up for you in the oven? I placed my pine cones on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven and they slowly opened up. It took about 3 hours for them to fully open. It also drys the sap and gets rid of any bugs that might be hiding among your pine cones.

I created the little Santa hats with hot glue and fabric scraps and the owl eye from paper. Some large googly eyes would be super cute too.

I let the kids put the rest of the owl together themselves. A bit of ribbon hot glued to the back creates the hanger for the Christmas tree.