Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Back From the Christmas Whirlwind ;)

Hey everyone!  No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth...honest. ;)  This is the first year I didn't post a "Merry Christmas" post actually on Christmas Day, and for that I apologize.  Things haven't really slowed down until today.  From the wedding on the weekend of the 20th to Christmas to a fun added visit from Hubby's family yesterday, we've been blessed with days and days of enjoying family and spending time together. :)  It made this Christmas season especially precious, but also rather nonstop. ;)

So, "Merry Christmas" late!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday celebrating with your loved ones.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite Christmas goodies from this year:

A nice, colorful display, don't you think?   I'll give you a closer look at some of the items. :)

Two pairs of Frozen socks. :) 

This adorable snowman family made by my dad.  It represents Hubby and me and our three girls.

A new set of colored Sharpies! :D  My mom got this same set for me last year and I've used it a ton.  This new set came just in time, too, as some of the Sharpies from my old set are losing their color. ;) 

The brilliant quilt you see in the backdrop was a present from one of my aunts.  The top was done by someone else, and then she did the border and finished it.  It's absolutely beautiful and goes perfectly with my bedroom colors. :)

In my stocking, I got a set of Jane Austen bandages (sigh-no Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, or Mr. Tilney bandaids inside, but they did include a free prize of a...bacon temporary tattoo...fitting, right?), :} Fluttershy lip gloss and nail polish (to go on my Fluttershy shelf), and this cute Frozen magnet featuring Anna which reads: "I'm not clumsy.  I fall gracefully."  I also got the adorable Belle keychain, which is now attached to my purse.  The sparkly white whirly thing in the front is a cute ornament Oldest Gal made for me. 

Some of my other handmade gifts were these three magnets, all handmade by the girls, and a fun handmade necklace from one of my other aunts.

Little Gal made me the snowman mug at the right of this picture, and my mom got me the Hallmark Belle ornament and the Disney Store Singing Rapunzel Sketchbook ornament. :)

Here's a closer look at the Rapunzel ornament from the front...

...and the back.  I was very pleased with how well it was painted.

This little black button on the back is what you push to make her sing.  She sings part of "When Will My Life Begin" without any instrumentation, just like the singing dolls. 

My Hallmark Belle ornament is lovely, too. :)

Here she is from the back.

My brother and sister-in-law got me both of Pentatonix' Christmas CDs. :D 

And my aunt found me these fun Unicorn Party Pics.  I can't wait to use these! :D

This next present is a very special one.  When I was a little girl, my mom and dad wrapped a present in a Mickey Mouse gift box just like this one.  We always reused our gift bags and boxes, so this little box got reused each year.  As a girl, I was always very excited to see who would get the Mickey box each year. ;)  It is still used every Christmas. :)  

Well, this year, I got my very own Mickey box! :) Apparently this one, still sealed in its original packaging, was at Goodwill for 49 cents!  It was so fun to open this up! :)

The back of the package shows what it looks like when it's in its box form.  

Now we can have two Mickey boxes each year at Christmas! :)  I'm so excited that I get to continue this tradition with my own daughters.  For a while, though, I think I'll just leave this one in the packaging. :) 

It shouldn't surprise you that I ended up with a few doll-sized goodies as well. ;) Here is Coral (aka Caroline) showing off some of the fun things I got.  

You can see she's holding a cute doll-sized apron, given to me by my mom and handmade by best friend's mom, whom I call my extra adopted mom (she doesn't currently have any listings, but her eBay seller account is HERE). :)

What made it even more fun is that I got an apron in my size to match. :) 

My mom also gave me Julie's birthday dress.  Doesn't it look amazing on Coral? :)  It came with a hat and a beaded necklace, but I like it best just by itself.  I'll probably use the hat and necklace with other outfits.

In my stocking, I got two accessories for my dolls. 

The first was this fun mini tape gun.  Now my dolls will have their own tape when they need to ship something. ;)

The second was this cute little chalkboard.  It has a magnet in the back so I can hang it up. :)

I'm also including two ornaments that weren't technically Christmas presents. ;)  I ran an errand for everyone the day after Christmas and found these fun ornaments for half off.

This little paper mache-type Elsa and Anna ornament was only $1.

I'd seen this really cute Strawberry Shortcake ornament before Christmas but wasn't sure I wanted to pay $7 for her.  Paying $3.50 was a lot nicer. :)

Here she is from the back.

Both ornaments will be fun additions to our Christmas tree next year. :)

One of the most exciting and unexpected gifts I got was a new phone: a Samsung Galaxy S5, to be precise. :D  Hubby and I were due for upgrades, and Best Buy had some really amazing promotions going right before Christmas.  Hubby got both of us S5s for $16 total and walked away with $100 in gift cards to Best Buy.  Not too shabby! ;)  

Going straight from a "stupid phone" to a smartphone has been a bit of an adjustment, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  I'm loving my Weight Watchers and Activelink apps, the lovely camera, having customized ringtones and notifications, the voice recorder (for all of those times I get inspiration for my books while I walk), and being able to better communicate with my friends with smartphones. :)   

Here's the back of the phone.  This case was an extra one my brother had, and it's working really well for me. :)

That's about it for the gifts.  Here are some things I want to remember as I think back on this Christmas season:

-Watching Pentatonix Christmas videos with the girls, and listening to Oldest Gal picking up on some of the harmony parts after only listening through once or twice. :)

-Listening to Middle Gal do her first piano prelude at the school Christmas program (with almost no mistakes!) and watching Oldest Gal do her speaking parts and sing her solo.  I'm so thankful for a school where my girls have lots of opportunities to participate in such things, and also where they are free to sing about the true meaning of Christmas. :)

-The opportunity we had to got to my nephew's wedding.  I loved spending time with Hubby's family and sharing the weekend with his parents and the girls. :)

-Listening to Cabin Pressure with Mimi and Hubby.  "Fizz. Buzz. Have a Bana-a-ana." ;)

-Introducing my dad to the "Alice" miniseries.  (He enjoyed it just like I knew he would.) ;)

-Hearing Little Gal's dramatic and heartfelt rendition of "Mary Did You Know" every time she used Mimi's bathroom (it's full of mirrors and has great acoustics). ;)  It became the running joke with all the family.  "Oh, [Little Gal] must be in the bathroom again!  I hear 'Mary Did You Know'."

-My completely crazy idea to do a photo shoot with all twelve of my 18" dolls (plus two of Mimi's and four of Mom's) to use for a nice, big post for Tess and Maggie's blog (the post is still in the works). ;)  I pulled it off, but I officially decided that using eighteen dolls in an involved story photo shoot is TOO MANY.  I think the whole shoot took me about six hours...at least.  Thankfully, I was smart enough to do the shoot two days before Christmas, so I was able to relax and enjoy my family the day of. ;)

-Our crazy but wonderful Christmas Day, involving both my family and Hubby's.  Eating together, watching the five little girls (my three daughters and my two nieces) open their gifts, talking and visiting, taking a long walk after dinner, and more.  It was a day I'll treasure in my memory for a long time. :)

-The added bonus of a visit with Hubby's family yesterday.  It was fun being the hostess (even if I'm a little out of practice). ;)  We ate, visited, watched funny Muppets videos, and listened to Sons of the Pioneers and Riders in the Sky. :)

All in all, December was a wonderful month in spite of the craziness.  I really felt like this was one year when I was able to focus on the real reason for the holiday, the birth of Jesus.  The girls and I had some great talks about Christmas and its meaning.  We got to see pretty Christmas lights, we all stayed healthy throughout the season, and time and time again we saw God's provision and blessings, even when things were tight financially.

I can't believe we're on the brink of another year!  I'm looking forward to 2015 and all God has in store for us. :)

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season, too.  What were some of your favorite memories or gifts?


Meritre said...

What a wonderful Christmas!
Wish you and your family a Merry (late) Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, Meritre! The same to you! :)

Barb the Evil Genius said...

What a fantastic haul, for lack of a better word. I love the Sharpies! We always had art supplies around our house when I was growing up.

My daughter would love all the Frozen/Rapunzel stuff. I'm a Belle fan. :)

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, Barb! I know, I don't like using the word "haul" because it ends up sounding a little greedy, but it's hard finding a replacement word, isn't it? ;)

I really love Sharpies, too. My mom also got each of my girls a set of 12 Sharpies of their own (they love them just as much as I do). ;)

Yay, another Belle fan! :D Belle will always be my very favorite, but Rapunzel and Anna are close seconds. ;)

Hope you and your family had a nice Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful month of December!
I wish you and your family a Happy New Year.


MyLittleMegara said...

Merry late Christmas and Happy New Year, Beast'sbelle! I have the same Anna magnet... it's my favorite of my magnets. I also like your lock screen... Anyway, it sounds like you and yours had a great holiday! I can also relate to Little Gal... when I was in Kindergarten, the teacher had to call my parents because whenever I went to the bathroom, I stayed in there for a reeeeeeeeally long time singing at the top of my lungs... :D Evidently, the rest of the class found that habit disruptive.


Karina B. said...

Such fun to see your Christmas treasures!! =) Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

Farrah Lily said...

Merry Christmas to you as well! Looks like a lovely day was had by all. I also received the Pentatonix Christmas CD from my mom and I love it...I definitely have a soft spot for acapella groups (also love GLEE of course!) and the bonus Frozen song at the end!
You're Belle ornament is gorgeous as well. Happy New Year to you and your family! :)

BlackKitty said...

What a lovely holiday you had! Great presents too! I hope to see more Sharpie art in the new year :)

Jen said...

Merry (late) Christmas and Happy (also late) New Year! I'm glad you had a good holiday. I love your wee Belle keychain, and that Rapunzel ornament is adorable! I rather wish I'd picked one up during the holiday sales, but I have a feeling my husband would be less-than-pleased with yet another Rapunzel on the tree...:D

I hope you're still enjoying your phone! I'm one of those annoying folks who is surgically attached to hers. :D The first time I realized I could take a picture and Tweet it without having to upload to a computer first was *magical*.

Have a great 2015!

All About Boog said...

Isn't it awesome how your Mom can still pick out gifts you get excited over even now that you have kids of your own? My Mom surprised me with several little things (like two ornaments that were perfect doll sized purses) that made me so happy! It makes you instantly a little girl again 😄 So thankful for Moms!!

beastsbelle said...

Wow, I'm so sorry I forgot to respond to the rest of these comments! :(

Linda, thank you very much and the same to you and your family. :)

Thank you, MyLittleMegara. :) I really love that magnet, too. And I was so excited to find that fun lock screen for my cell phone! :)

Lol, such a funny story about you in Kindergarten! ;) Thankfully, the bathrooms at school are completely separate from the classrooms, so I don't think Little Gal's singing is quite as disruptive there. ;)

Thank you so much, Karina B.! :D

Thank you, Farrah Lily! I really love the amazing blend Pentatonix has, but I don't care for some of the lyrics or messages of a lot of their regular song covers. It's nice to have a Christmas album with lots of songs I love. :)

Thank you, BlackKitty! Sharpie art is definitely in the plans for the year. ;) I've already used them for some artwork postcards. :)

Thank you so much, Jen. Sorry for my very late response! I hope your holiday was nice as well. :)

Lol, I think my husband has just resigned himself to a life with a Disney-filled Christmas tree. Thankfully he's pretty easy-going. ;) He's also usually super busy at Christmastime because of his job with UPS, so he doesn't have a lot of time to sit and gaze at the tree. ;)

As far as my phone goes, I think I'm "in love". ;) So far I've managed to not be TOO attached, but it's been a really useful tool, especially for Weight Watchers and for doll shopping. ;)

I hope you have a great 2015 too!

Hi All About Boog! So nice to hear from you again.

I completely agree with you! My mom's the best. :) It's really fun because she's gotten into doll collecting as well, so we've been able to share this fun hobby together. ;)

Hope you have a wonderful new year!