Pinterest Christmas {2017}: Teachers’ Presents (Tote Bag).

Welcome back to week TWO of Pinterest Christmas! {See week ONE here.}

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I like making/gifting Eloise’s teachers gifts when we start Winter Break just to show them how much we love them and appreciate them. That said, I don’t want to fill their house with things they don’t really want, so I try to be thoughtful about the gifts we give (one in December and one at the end of the year). I have had this pin saved for a long time and finally thought it was time to try it!

Teacher Tote Bag

{original Pinterest link – Handmade Mood}

Supplies:
-canvas bag (I used these ones from Amazon – but wouldn’t recommend them – because these ones from Michael’s didn’t come in time)

-embroidery thread (red and blue)

-embroidery needle

-scissors

-ruler

-optional: thin paint brush and (grey) acrylic paint; or Silhouette and iron-on transfer paper

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I followed the instructions in the original link and it was super easy! I measured out lines and lightly lined with pencil so that embroidering would be no big deal. This project reminded me of a tiny version of this quilt that I made for Eloise’s big kid bed.

For the lettering, I sketched out the names of Eloise’s (three) teachers and then used a lightbox and pencil to trace the letters onto the bag, and finally paint the letters (which is basically what I do for the flag shop). The original tutorial uses an iron-on transfer paper and a Silhouette machine. You could also just free-hand the letters with pencil and then paint too!

I think these bags turned out so cute. Eloise and I colored some Christmas cards (really cute ones that I picked up at Anthro a few years ago but are no longer available) to include along with our family Christmas card. I just stacked the cards on top of the folded bag and tied it up with a bright red ribbon!

Did you make/give teacher’s gifts this year? I am always in need of ideas!

M

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Pinterest Christmas {2017}: Paper Chain Advent Tree.

Welcome back to Pinterest Christmas! This Pinterest Christmas blog series (in its SEVENTH year!) started as a motivation to actually do some of the DIY projects we pinned on Pinterest & a way to share them with friends & family. Over the years other bloggers have joined & we have spent the month of December DIYing & sharing our Christmas projects. Sometimes the posts are tutorials with step-by-step instructions & other times it is simply sharing a completed project! It’s just me this year, and I am not  doing anything too formal this year, but I did want to share a few festive things. You can check out past Pinterest Christmas projects here!

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This craft hardly even deserves a blog post because it was honestly so, so easy! And, in full disclosure, this tree is still completely in-tact with all of it’s paper links (all 25 of them!) because I didn’t get it done until December 1st, and then Eloise’s Christmas jammies got spilled on at our Jingle & Mingle party, and then she has been sick, and it gets dark at 4 pm so the lighting is terrible for pictures, etc. BUT, we will eventually take off each link to countdown the days to Christmas and I know Eloise will LOVE it!

Each evening when goodnight is said, take off one ring and jump in bed. When only the star is left to shine, then you know it's Christmastime.

{original Pinterest link – here}

Supplies:

-construction paper (yellow, red, and green)

-glue stick

-scissors

-string or pipe cleaner to hang

I didn’t have enough green construction paper, so I included more red links than the original image. But the tutorial is that you cut strips of paper (I did 1 inch strips), glue the end to form a ring, and attach them together to make a tree. And that’s it!

Do you have a Christmas advent tradition?

M

Merry Christmas {2016}!

Merry Merry Christmas!

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{our Christmas card via Minted, photos by The Happy Film Company}

I have heard a lot on the interwebs about Minted, but never perused the selection of cards until this year. There are lots of different card printing companies but I loved that Minted included address printing (on the envelopes) as part of the deal. I enjoyed hand-lettering Christmas card envelopes in the past, but I just don’t see that happening for the  foreseeable future! (Ahh, life before kids!) And this is the exact card design if you are interested, plus I added the infographic on the back.

We are in Seattle again this year spending Christmas at home. We had such a fun time last year celebrating the holiday here with Eloise and not feeling like we were hustling and bustling for our entire Christmas vacation! Plus, since I am almost 32 weeks, we figured it was easier just to stay at home.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and holiday!

Merry Christmas from the Lowers!

M

{see our past Christmas cards here: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015}

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#LowerChristmas2016

Merry Christmas Eve! I just wanted to pop-in to share a few photos of our Christmas celebration shenanigans this year.

{We went to WildLights again at the Zoo this year and it was so fun! Eloise was much more into the lights this year though she was disappointed that we couldn’t see any animals, especially the tigers!}

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{I LOVE photos in front of Christmas trees and was so excited when I knew this bump would be around for Christmastime this year!}

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{And before we decorated the tree, Eloise played in all of the lights!}

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{If you know me, you may know that one of my mama dreams was to have matching family Christmas jammies! Seriously. And I am so lucky that Aaron is such a good sport about it. Plus, Eloise is at the age that she LOVES to match mama – can this last forever?}

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{And finally, I wanted to share our new fireplace that Aaron has been building! I know he wants to do a more in-depth post about the actual design and building process, but I wanted to share our Christmas mantle this year. We haven’t had a mantle since we lived in our old townhouse, so I have been dying to have one to decorate and hang stockings from. I don’t love TVs mounted above fireplaces and in an ideal world we wouldn’t either, but it didn’t make sense to change the entire layout of the living room at this point. So Aaron built the fireplace to house all of our electronic equipment (all of the front panels open up) which is so fun.}

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We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and joyous holiday season!

M

And you can find our matching Hanna Andersson jammies here! Note: Aaron is wearing the adult long johns and I am wearing the kids long johns.

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Pinterest Christmas {2016}: Teachers’ Presents.

Welcome back to week three of Pinterest Christmas! {See week one here and week two here.}

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This is the first year Eloise has had teachers and I wanted to be sure to do something special for them for the holiday since they are so wonderful. There are so, so many ideas on Pinterest (to the point of being overwhelming!) but I managed to find one that was super simple and fit with E’s teachers’ styles. I made the original DIY project even simpler by buying mugs that already had initials rather than painting a plain white mug.

gold initial mug gift

{original Pinterest link – Earnest Home Co. blog}

While I really liked the look of Anthro’s Gold Initial Mug, it really isn’t the style of Eloise’s teachers (who lean towards the hippy side!). So I found these beautiful Petal Palette Mugs instead which were perfect!

I found burlap at Jo-Ann’s (I used less than a quarter of a yard), small organic rosemary plants at Trader Joe’s, and small plastic cups in our party supply stash – easy peasy!

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I love that these gifts will last for some time – E’s teachers drink lots of tea and rosemary is super hardy, even I have trouble killing it! – plus they were super easy to put together. And, my kitchen smelled amazing after having re-potted that rosemary; the move from one pot to the cup must of activated the leaves or something!

Once I had everything in the mug, I placed them in Christmas-y paper bags and taped our family Christmas card to the front. Eloise was so excited to take them to school to her teachers last week!

And be sure to check out what Kendra’s up to all December long over on The Gilbertson Family! {Here’s her first Pinterest Christmas post!}

Do you make or buy teachers’ gifts for you kiddos for the holidays?

M

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Pinterest Christmas {2016}: Toddler Ornaments.

Welcome back to week two of Pinterest Christmas! {See last week’s post here.}

Sidenote: Sorry guys, this post was supposed to go up last week and I apparently never posted it!

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Eloise does a lot of art projects at school, comes home covered in paint, and then we hang all of her creations on the front living room window. I love that she is doing art at school because it is one activity that this type-A mama can have trouble doing at home. But, I thought it would be fun to make a few simple Christmas ornaments for the tree this year with Eloise.

Cute button tree ornament for the kids to make

{original Pinterest link – Hands On As We Grow blog}

pom pom christmas tree craft

{original Pinterest link – Happy Hooligans blog}

I knew that I needed to keep things simple, so I kept the supply list short: felt, ribbon, buttons, pom poms, popcicle sticks, and glue.

I cut out the Christmas trees and wreaths out of felt and then had Eloise point to where she wanted to put either a button or a pom pom. Then I put a big drop of glue and she placed the button or pom pom down. It worked pretty well, although Eloise was much more interested in holding (and squeezing!) the bottle of glue… anyone know of toddler-friendly glue?

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By the time we were done decorating the trees and wreaths, Eloise had pretty much lost interest since I wouldn’t let her handle the glue, so the triangle popcicle stick ornaments are pretty bare. For those I just glued three sticks together on the ends to form a triangle and had Eloise place the pom poms. Once all of the ornaments were dry (overnight), I had Eloise pick out the ribbon color and I strung each ornament onto a piece of ribbon. She was excited to hang all of the ornaments on the tree which made all of it worth it!

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This was definitely a super-easy toddler craft and I am really glad we did it.

And be sure to check out what Kendra’s up to all December long over on The Gilbertson Family! {Here’s her first Pinterest Christmas post!}

Do you have homemade ornaments on your Christmas tree?

M

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Eloise meets Santa {2016}

Per tradition, Eloise and I joined her friend Beatrice and her mama earlier this month to meet Santa downtown at Nordstrom. We loaded the girls into the car and headed down in the morning with Starbucks in hand hoping to beat the rush. The line wasn’t awful this year and it took just over an hour.

As we got closer to the front of the line and Santa came into view, Eloise was super interested in seeing the other kids sit on his lap and ask him for what they wanted for Christmas. I was hopeful but since Eloise had already told me that she didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, I knew I wasn’t going to push her.

And by the time we got up to Santa, she was clinging to me like a baby monkey. Her friend Beatrice went first, but ended up in tears which made more Eloise upset. Somehow though I managed to get Eloise on a rocking horse and the photographer distracted her enough to move her back towards Santa and actually get a smile! And Eloise asked me to tell Santa what she wanted, so I made sure he got her list: 2 monkeys, a pickle, and a giraffe. Seriously. She talked about it the entire week before we went to see him!

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Maybe someday Eloise won’t be terrified of Santa? But then she also has been talking about Santa ever since she saw him… it’s a little confusing. And she kept asking where he parked! I told her the only place the sleigh and his reindeer would fit was on Nordstrom’s roof.

At what age did your kiddos get excited about seeing Santa?

M

And see Eloise with Santa for the past two years: 2015 & 2014.