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?