Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best of Christmas 2012 - So Merry!

There's a lot to post this Christmas, but I'll just give you the highlights.  One of the best things that happened this year was that I didn't get overstressed.  The cards went out hassle-free....and the reason for the stress-free cards was because the one I wanted (below)  ended up being $2 per card, so within a hour I picked up some at Walgreens, for which I paid $0.41 for each. And they were just as great!


The gifts were bought this year without any fuss.  The boys not only licked every envelope for our cards, but M and C picked out each gift for every cousin at one Target visit.  Done!   But you know how the Lord says that you'll be blessed if you give?  Wow, did I ever?!  Best gift went to ME.  A professional karaoke machine.  Yes!!!!

And well the cooking...besides making fruit soup for breakfast, I didn't cook a single meal..hallelujah!  We did bake but even that was therapeutic.   And I didn't decorate the cookies..LOL.


Fruit soup is a tradition, as well as visiting the National "holiday" Tree.  Right.  Yeah, it's a Christmas tree and here it is in all its glory.  This year was pretty underwhelming visiting the tree with no yulelog and a crowded area to see the manger - next year, we might need to adapt a new tradition.  We did have fun with our friends Jay and Kathy though, and afterwards, we ate plenty of pizza!

Another tradition at Christmas is to eat like there's no tomorrow.  There's always a turkey, a beef roast, a fish, a noodle dish, a soup, and all the Khmer favorites.  I have proof!  This is only like half of what was served....Cambodians know how to feast!


And one more tradition to observe this year was Christmas Eve.  We always try to go to the candlelight service.  This year, I asked a friend for her iphone and was able to get this beautiful calming picture.  It was this serene peace that filled me---- to be there with my friends and family thanking God for that Silent Night and our Joy to the World!

Other great moments:  when the tree went up this year, Tristan went nuts.

As in years past, we didn't forget to put up the train.  Well, that was a good call.  Our little Tristan was mesmerized by the train.  All he said for days was choo choo.  He would stare at that thing go round and round for at least half an hour.  We just weren't sure what to make of this fascination. 

Nothing says Christmas like a festive Christmas party.  We managed to make it out to a few and remembered to take a photo at the end.  It's always so fun to party with Patrick.  He's a hoot.

Probably one of my fave moments is when Patrick did a reading of the Christmas story out of Luke Chapter 2.  

Thank you to everyone who prayed for me in early December to make sure I remembered the reason for the season.  Every time we did something, we remembered the "why" and I was immediately filled with joy!  From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Crafting & Playdate

This morning was half fun, and half chaotic.  We had little wee ones here, and I had forgotten the times the boys needed gates and needed to lock down loose furniture pieces.   We had a few near misses and I'm grateful that despite the chaos, people managed to have fun and get creative.  Look what Karina's little David  made!

And all the kids made theirs...[cough cough, it was mums, too!]....

Victoria, by the way, looked strangely relaxed as she was painting.  I have to admit sitting down and being creative and's really therapeutic.  Zoning the world out....

Jeannie did the most creative ones if you ask me.  She is not only "one of the brighter ones" but she is also clearly one of the most fittest.  She is giving birth to her third son TOMORROW, I repeat tomorrow.  And she is out and about...and SMILING.  That's perspective for you.

My favorite is Abs trying to steal a fingerprint from her baby while she was sleeping.  These are eyes beginning to half open.  Hilarious!

I will say because the crafting was so fun, we may get together again and do just the mommies.  And maybe add some wine and cheese to the fun, too! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Seasonal Decorating

It's funny whenever anyone comes over, the first thing they say changed that! Yes, it's my creative outlet to update and change the look of my home very often.  As a full disclaimer, I told Patrick this very early on...and he still agreed to marry me!

So, this is what it started out as...sort of a blank canvas.  The yellow chairs were my "pop".  I was shooting for elegant comfort.

Easiest way to update a look is with pillows.  Summertime was easy as you buy some fun Pottery Barn covers on sale (I have my own much more inexpensive pillow inserts).  
This cover bought for $12.73 Pottery Barn Outlet.

I updated a Craiglist find (table and five chairs $35) with brand new seat covers to tie the two spaces together.  The covers were a lot of hard work to remove all the existing staples.

A few months later, I moved the two white chairs to flank the fireplace instead and added a few more accessories (end tables, starburst mirror, ottoman, baskets) and it's starting to come together.

Before I knew it, it was fall, and the summer white and the yellow and cool blues weren't warm enough to carry the comfy cozy look I was hoping for.  My new colors were gray and orange.....

Did you buy a new couch?  No!  With new slipcovers (on sale at IKEA $100 off) I sewed new silk 108" curtains at $10 a panel, added new artwork (IKEA frames and leftover fabric) and bought a whole bunch of new pillows at the cheapest prices you can imagine.

A new black mirror ($29.00) and some harvest decor lends itself to a cozy fall living room.

This place has come a long's the before:

and after...

More cabinets and old white appliances....overhead lighting...nasty ceiling fan....

And after....

And here's what it looks like at Christmas time....add some garland, stockings and red/grey/green/cream color scheme to your new Christmas living room.

A warm hearth glowing and we're ready to bring in the Christmas season!
....more decorating before and afters on the upper and lower levels as soon as I can remember to take the "after" pictures!

One might think I am insane for changing it so often, but for me - creating an environment where details tell people that my home is theirs - that makes all the difference!

First annual neighborhood Christmas Party.  It was a smashing hit!