Thursday, December 7, 2017

Our 2017 Frasier Fir and Christmas Decorations

We decided to go somewhere different this year for our tree. When we lived in our old house, there was a family-run stand right down the street that we went to every year. Then last year we went to the Kirkwood Farmer's Market which is not far from our new house. They had a lot of great trees, but they were so crowded!! It was hard to look at trees and then get someone to help you. So this year, we decided to try a little family-run tree stand near our house and it was really nice. They weren't overly crowded and were very nice and willing to help. It was nice to support a family-run business again like we had in the past.

We used to always get a Noble Fir, but for the last few years we haven't been able to find anywhere that's had them around us. They are a tree from the Pacific Northwest and I know there has been a bit of a tree shortage the last few years, so we've gotten a Frasier Fir the last 2 years instead and decided to go that route again. The Frasier Fir is very similar to the Noble Fir so it hasn't been much of a difference.

Here are a few pictures of us at the Home Grown Trees stand last Saturday morning.

After getting our tree home, we always put it in a bucket of water in the garage for the rest of the day and overnight to let it get a good drink of water. Then we typically decorate it the next day. I already had the rest of the house decorated, so all we had left to do was decorate the tree. :-) Every year I take a "before" picture of the tree in the tree stand with the tree skirt on it that Jake's Great Grandmother made for him before we were even married. His grandmother is 93 and still doing well.

And here is the tree all decorated, even with a few presents under it already. I just love getting all the ornaments out and looking at them. They bring back so many memories for me. Some are from my Grammy who passed away 6 years ago. Others are from trips we've taken. I've made a few of them and bought a few that I really liked. Some are hand-made by the kids and others were gifts. Three years ago I started putting a special ornament for each of my kiddos in their stockings from Santa. They are always excited to put their special ornaments on the tree each year. I just love the hodge-podge of sentimental ornaments we have for our tree.

And a few more decorations in our living room and dining room.

The buffet in the dining room.

The chalkboard in our dining room that I need to change to a more Christmassy message.

I'm thinking of doing something similar to this on my chalkboard because the saying is so cute and exactly how I feel these days.

Printable found here.

And I can't forget the favorite decoration for the kids, (and husband) our Christmas Train. :-)

So that's a little peek at our decorations this year. We've decorated the outside as well, which I need to take a few pictures of. Maybe I'll do a little post on that soon.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas Mini Session + Christmas Cards

Typically I just use our most recent family picture for our Christmas card every year, but this year I decided to go a different route and took some Christmas pictures of the kids. I also brought our dog Max along as well and I'm so glad I did.

My kids aren't the easiest to take pictures of. They are usually not interested in it at all and despise even the mention of getting their picture taken. I usually have to bribe them in some way, shape or form to get them to take a few pictures for me. This session was no different. Ha. I did get them out there though and they cooperated about as well as I expected. I did get some cute pictures, despite their not-so-enthusiastic attitudes. And thankfully, I was able to do a few head swaps to get the perfect picture for our Christmas Card this year. ;-) I just love the way it turned out. It was a gorgeous evening for late November. The temperature was in the 60's! Perfect for a quick Christmas Photo session.

I ended up using Walmart again for our cards this year. At $7.00 for a set of 20, you really can't beat that. I send out around 60 cards and the expense of cards plus stamps can be quite a bit. So I just always use Walmart. Plus they are done the same day so I don't have to wait for them to come in the mail.

And here are a few more that I really loved, but didn't make the Christmas Card 

This was my bribery for if they did good for the other shots... they could blow milk bubbles. ;-)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Family Pictures 2017

We've made it a bit of a tradition to take family pictures on Thanksgiving Day. This was our 3rd year and it was another success. With 6 kids in the mix now, its a bit more challenging, but I think they did pretty good all things considered. My uncle has taken our large family picture every year and then my sister takes my immediate family picture and I take the rest and then edit them all. It works out well. :-) So without further adieu, here they are.

We had a hard time getting Avery and Emerson to smile for this picture and Jackson has a bit of a goofy smile, but we call it a success that no one is crying and everyone is looking at the camera. Ha. With six kids ranging from 10 years old to 1 month old, you kind of just have to take what you can get.

My parents with the grandkids.

All 6 grandkids.
My parents.

 My family.

 Jackson and Avery.

 My sister and her family.
My sister's kids.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!
Today I'm linking up with Christina, April and Natasha for Five on Friday!

Happy December!! I can't believe it's December already!

We got Avery's school picture back this week. I had asked her if how she smiled for her pictures before we got them back and this was the exact smile she showed me. She did so much better than last year when she didn't even look at the camera. She's getting so big!

We had a great Thanksgiving! The Saturday before we hosted Jake's family and then on Thanksgiving day we went to my Aunt and Uncles house for my side of the family. Both were wonderful. We are so very Thankful for all of God's many blessings.

Smith/Testrake Family Thanksgiving

Lambert/Beaty/Stoffel Thanksgiving

Friday evening, after taking the kids Christmas Pictures for our Christmas Card (post on this later), I took the kids by the Teddy Bear Christmas Land house to see if the lights were on yet and they were!! We got out and walked around a little bit. This house in in our town and the man decorates it every year for Christmas. I can't imagine how much time and work goes into it. He does a wonderful job!

This past Saturday evening, we took the kids to Six Flags for Holiday in the Park. It was SO much fun!! We had a great time. We rode rides, watched a couple of shows and we saw Santa. Plus there were so many pretty lights to see, Christmas music playing and carolers. I definitely recommend it if you live near a Six Flags. The Majesty of Christmas show is a must-see. It's the true story of Christmas with live animals!

After weeks of planning and preparation, we got a majority of our Christmas shopping done last week. With all the black Friday sales, we were able to get some great deals and did almost all of our shopping online. We also got the lights hung outside thanks to great weather and I have the inside all decorated, minus the tree that we plan to get tomorrow. I even have gotten our Christmas cards done, and they're going out in the mail today! I'm so happy to have so much done already (which is totally not like me at all.) I'm usually still doing last minute shopping the week of Christmas. Ha!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!
Today I'm linking up with Christina, April and Natasha for Five on Friday!

My sister-in-law had a sign party last weekend and I made a super cute sign there. I had been wanting a welcome sign to hang next to our coat closet right as you walk into our house and I absolutely love the one I made. :-)

Jackson had his first music program at school last week and he did so good. The theme was Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and they recited/sang over 40 rhymes. It was all the kindergarten classes at his school together and they all did great.
Jackson is on the very top row in the middle in the green and gray striped shirt.

I ordered this set for Jake and I to wear for Christmas this year from here. We LOVE Christmas Vacation and this was just too good to pass up. :-)
The Dad's Club at Jackson's school had their annual Casino Night this past weekend. We went with our neighbors across the street and had such a fun night.

While I was off work on Monday and editing pictures, Avery and Max were snuggled up on my bed watching t.v. and I couldn't help but snap a picture. :-)

I hope you all have a GREAT weekend. We will be hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow with Jake's side of the family so it will be a busy but fun weekend for us!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Halloween 2017

We had SO many different events for Halloween this year so I thought I'd try and get it all in one post with a few pictures from each event.

First of all, we did Boo at the Zoo which I already posted about here.

Next up was carving pumpkins with my side of the family on the Thursday night before Halloween.

The Saturday before Halloween, we had my Mother-In-Law's annual Halloween Party which was so much fun!

My niece and her boyfriend were also dressed as Wonder Woman and Superman, so we had to get a group picture. ;-)
My nieces Sophia and Bella. So cute!

The treat bags the friendly ghost left behind for all the kiddos.

And then that Sunday we had Trunk or Treat at Jackson's school!

Monday morning Avery had her Halloween Parade and Party at school.

Then Monday night Avery had her Halloween Party at Dance Class.

The afternoon of Halloween was Jackson's school Halloween Parade and Party.

And then finally Halloween night we went trick or treating. It was so much fun this year! We went with all of our neighborhood friends and my sister and her family came over to join us too.

Jackson and Avery each had 2 costumes this year. We had so many events that it was nice for them to have a choice for each. Jackson was Superman and a Skeleton and Avery was Twilight sparkle (My Little Pony) and Wonder Woman.

Avery really enjoyed getting so much candy. She just kept saying how much fun she was having, it was really cute. Jackson was up with his friends the whole night and he had a great time!

The cousins all ready for trick or treating.

The neighborhood trick or treat gang!

My dad built a fire and passed out candy for us. :-)

Our house all decorated on Halloween night.

Avery with all of her candy.

Jackson with all of his candy.

Avery holding Addison on Halloween Night.