Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Wreath Tutorial

Would you like to make an easy, realistic-looking Christmas wreath that will last a long time?  Follow along as I show you how to make one in my first ever blog tutorial!  I wanted to post this before Christmas, but obviously that did not happen.  However, since I am posting this just a couple days after Christmas Day, you may be able to find some, if not all of the supplies on clearance and make a VERY inexpensive wreath for next year. I purchased all my supplies at Walmart.  The regular prices are shown below.

For one wreath you will need:
  • Two 20-inch basic artificial wreaths (Walmart: $2.50 x 2= $5)
  • One red bow (Walmart: $.98)
  • One wreath hanger (Walmart: $2)
  • Three twist-ties (I didn't have enough of these, so I also used wire ornament hooks from Walmart, $.97 or so for a package)
Total cost for wreath: about $9

Why use two wreaths?  The wreaths at Walmart come looking like this (see below).  All the needles are pushed to the inside of the wreath...

...and when the needles are spread out, this is the result--a scraggly sorry-looking thing!  So I use two skinny wreaths to make one full wreath.

First, take one wreath and bend all the needles to the outside.  This will be your base wreath.

Then take the other wreath and arrange the needles evenly.  This will be your top wreath.

Place the top wreath on top of your base wreath.

Doesn't it look nice and full now?

Now take your twist-ties, wire ornament hooks, or other item of preference to secure the two wreaths together.

I tried to get a close-up of the wire hook wrapped around the wire frames of the wreaths, but it is hard to see here.  I tied the wreaths together in three places around the wreath.

Then take the red bow, and with the twist-ties that are already attached to the back of the bow, secure it to the top (or bottom--whichever you prefer) of the wreath.


Your wreath is done!  Now hang it on the wreath hanger on your door and enjoy some Christmas cheer!  Or tuck it away to bring out next Christmas. :) 

Variation:  For a different look, tie Christmas ball ornaments onto the wreath.  This is more time consuming, but it looks more elegant.  And instead of using a wreath hanger, I just used a nail to hang the wreath on an old door I am using for outdoor decor.

 Have fun!

Merry Christmas!

And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
Luke 1:47
I'm a little late posting this, but since it is still Christmas-time, we wish each of you a very
Merry Christmas!!
Christ was born to die so we could live eternally with Him.
As someone has said, THAT is worth celebrating. :) 

Monday, December 17, 2012


We went to a tree farm and cut our Christmas tree for the first time!
Chilly family outing
Our second son turned TWO!!  Love this little boy!
I did a simple John Deere theme for his birthday party.  I was going to put little John Deere machinery in his apple crisp 'field' and I forgot.
This birthday boy loves tractors.
We gave out goodie plates when we went around and met all our new neighbors one evening!
Our two oldest are dressed as shepherds for the Christmas program at our church.  Our second son ended up not wanting his costume, so he just sat with Daddy.  We'll try again next year!  Our oldest son enjoyed being on stage with all the other children.
Winter wonderland!
So beautiful
Merry Christmas!

Free Christmas Printable

I found a very creative Christmas printable available for free here. Isn't it cute?!  There is also a version that reads "Peace on Earth".  Pictured above is the copy I printed out and framed.  Also pictured are some vintage-looking bottle-brush trees I found at Walmart!  I had been looking for some and was so excited to find them. 

"Joy to the world!  The Lord is come!...."  I am so thankful He came.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Does anything look messed up on my blog?  I was having a bit of trouble with it this afternoon, and then a little later, a friend called and told me she noticed the text was jumbled when she got on my blog.  Things seem to be working fine for me now....does it look alright to you?

Nativity Preschool Packs

I listed a few links in my last post for several sites that offered free Christmas preschool downloads.  One was a link to a nativity pack, but when I tried to download it, it didn't work. (I have since deleted the link.)

Bummer!  I thought.  I really wanted the boys to have some schoolwork about the nativity! 

So I was very tickled to see this nativity pre-k pack and this expansion pack from Over the Big Moon "advertised" on Money Saving Mom today!  I had no problems printing out both packs.  It is just too cute!  I wanted to share it with you as well.  Our boys are going to enjoy this!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas List

It's December!  I love Christmastime.  It is such a beautiful time to celebrate our Savior's birth and make special memories with those we love.  Here is a list of some of the things we'd like to do this month:
  • Cut our own tree at a tree farm
  • Buy a new Christmas music CD  (Do you have a favorite?  Leave me a comment below--I'd love to get your suggestions!)
  • Memorize some of the Biblical account of Jesus' birth
  • Do Christmas preschool with the boys (this or some of this)
  • Go ice-skating (if a thrift store has skates in our sizes!)
  • Leave a gift on someone's doorstep
  • Decorate the Christmas tree
  • String lights outside
  • Read a Christmas storybook to the boys every day
  • Bake sugar cookies (I want to try this recipe, but use coconut oil in place of you think that will work?)
  • Sew another Christmas stocking (free pattern download here)
  • Go to a Christmas concert
  • Send out our annual letter and photo with Christmas tracts
  • Make graham cracker houses
  • Decorate sugar cone Christmas trees (something similar to these)
  • Send a Christmas card, Christmas tract and pictures drawn by the boys to a recovering soldier     Here is the address if you are interested in doing this, too!
                     A Recovering American Soldier
                     c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
                     6900 Georgia Avenue
                     NW Washington, DC 20307-5001
*Update* This address is incorrect.  I am so sorry to those of you who sent a card and had it returned (as happened to me).  I should have double checked the address with another source before posting it.  Thank you for understanding.  Below is what I believe is the correct address.  Hopefully this one will work. 
                     A Recovering American Soldier
                     c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
                     6900 Georgia Avenue, N.W.
                     Building #2
                     Washington, DC 20307-5001
  • Help with our church's Christmas program
  • Give goodies or fruit baskets with a Christmas tract to our new neighbors
  • Cut paper snowflakes (tutorial here using coffee filters)
  • Go for a sleigh ride
  • Sing carols 
  • Drive around as a family and look at lights
  • Watch some old holiday movies
  • Go Christmas shopping
  • Wrap presents
  • Attend the candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church
  • Enjoy hot apple cider, hot cocoa, or hot maple cream (recipe coming soon!) after chilly outings
  • Visit an elderly friend at the nursing home
  • Send a Christmas card to each of the missionaries our church supports
  • Attend our Christmas family get-togethers
  • Make eggnog
  • Watch the Christmas train go by (a local event)
  • Have our traditional candlelit Christmas Eve meal 
  • Have family over on Christmas Day
We probably won't end up doing everything on this ambitious list, but it is fun to brainstorm, glean ideas from others and plan! 
  What are some things you  
would like to do this Christmas season? :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Days

Today is the last day of November. Wow, time flies.  We hope you all had a good Thanksgiving!

The Sunday before Thanksgiving we celebrated with our church. A Thanksgiving dinner was served after the morning service with a time of praise hymns and testimonies of God's goodness following the meal. 

On Thanksgiving Day, we enjoyed time with my large extended side of the family.  It was our first Thanksgiving with family in six years!  They are a riot!  A weather system came through that day, turning the world a wintery white.  The freezing rain that preceded it along with a wind that picked up later in the day, made for rather yucky road conditions for the trip home that evening.  I was very glad Josh had gotten time off work to join us that day, and thankful he was there to do the driving that night!

The next day, Friday, we had a family get-together with my hubby's side of the family.  There was much yummy food, fun games and in the evening, a horse-drawn parade in a nearby town.  The temperature was a brisk 14 degrees...brrr!   Even though it gets cold here, it is good to be back in Minnesota and to be close to family again, though we do miss our friends in North Carolina.  

I found some free downloadable Thanksgiving preschool papers here through Pinterest that the boys enjoyed doing around the Thanksgiving holiday.  I love making learning fun.  And it's so neat to see the boys comprehend new things!

Josh and a friend put in a couple good days of work on the garage this week, and it is really looking nice!  The new soffitt, fascia, window, door and siding are giving the garage a much needed facelift.  Josh and another friend got a good bit more siding on today.

This is the garage yesterday.

We celebrated our oldest son's birthday this week....he is FOUR years old now!  Talk about time flying!  It makes me sad to think my firstborn is quickly leaving the baby/toddler years behind him, and at the same time it makes me happy to see the boy he is becoming.  I did a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party for him this year as he really likes Mickey Mouse.

For a fun birthday activity, the birthday boy got to do some target practice with Daddy!
Some of the Mickey Mouse theme
Mickey Mouse brownie...I made a stencil and sprinkled powdered sugar over it to make Mickey's face.
Present time :)
Four years old!  Oh, I love that boy!

Indeed, we have much for which to be thankful.  God gives us so much more than we deserve!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Give Thanks

O give thanks unto the LORD;
for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalm 118:29

Happy Thanksgiving
from our home to yours!

Two little Indians

Settling In

Yes, we moved into our home November 2nd!  It is feeling like home and a sense of normalcy is once again returning.  While it was a blessing to be able to rent my uncle's lake house for a few weeks, there is just no place like home!  Even though we are waging the mud war here (when it's wet) from all the ground work that was done (water line, propane line, new septic, stump removal, grading), and a train with a very loud whistle rumbles by at 4am, it is great to be settling into our own nest again.  My family and mother-in-law where a huge help with moving.  Josh and my brother re-shingled the garage a couple weeks ago.  A man from our church did much of the ground work mentioned above.  It's so nice to be rapidly checking things off the to-do list!  By summer we hope to have this old property whipped into shape.  And right now we are enjoying Indian summer temps!

Four Months

Our little cutie at four months!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Slow But Steady

We have been chomping at the bit to get moved into our mobile home, but obviously we need to learn some patience first!  Our mobile home was moved out to our place a week ago and since then, it seems like one thing after another has been postponed....due to weather, work (but we are thankful Josh has a job) or things not being available.  However, the electricity has been put in and hooked up, the propane tank was brought out and we have heat now, and some of the water work has been done, so there has been progress. Hopefully this weekend Josh can get the decks built.  Also, we plan to clean our mobile home and get more stuff moved in from the garage soon.  The septic will hopefully be put in next week.  Maybe in a couple weeks we can move.  Exciting!!

Our home when it was on the sale lot  (Our camera needs new batteries, so I can't post a current picture right now.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Picture Post

Our third son, 1 week old
The camera captured some interesting expressions!
Our boys, ages 3, 1, and 1 month
Me and my brood
Sentimental about leaving our first home
Family picture before leaving North Carolina
Ready to hit the trail--only 1400 miles to go!
The cute little old house on the property we bought in Minnesota
Unfortunately, it is beyond repair, so we are moving a mobile home onto the place.
I wish it was in better shape, so we could get to enjoy this house's old-fashioned charm.  This stairway is one of my favorite things about the house...
...and I would love to transform this kitchen with some paint...sea foam green walls, white cupboards with new hardware.  Oh, well, maybe in our mobile home!
Jeb's first fishing trip with his uncle and cousins and he caught his first fish!
A lovely view a couple weeks ago from our rented lake house
2-1/2 months!