Bit by bit...

We are getting back into the swing of normal...seems we haven't seen much of that since summer...while I do love all of my Fall and Christmas decorating, baking, entertaining, etc...there is just something about getting back to the normal...you know? I have been working at resetting the house back to normal mode...all of the Christmas goodies are tucked away for next year...I have been purging the house of "extra"...admittedly one of my favorite things to do...Oh, and thinking about getting ready for a new baby...
~*~
I am often asked how I manage to keep such an organized home...I have many tricks up my sleeve you know? :) One is that I go through the house regularly...monthly and get rid of things we don't need or use. The less stuff you have the less time it takes to care for it. "Things" that live in our house must meet one of two criteria...1) Do I LOVE it? 2) Is it useful? If it doesn't meet one of those two I usually get rid of it(hello Goodwill)...I have not given up something that I regret to date. I don't often keep things because I might need it someday...an obvious exception are all of the baby things stored up in our attic...but those will be useful soon, won't they?
~*~
I'll share more of my tricks in later posts but for now, how about you? What do you do to keep organized?
I have also been crafty...as least as crafty as one can be sitting on their bottom...I have had a cold since Christmas Eve and have lots of extra aches and pains to go along with my "normal" pregnancy ailments. :) I swear this pregnancy is twice as hard on my body as the last one...the sweet little birds above are one of my favorite new things to hit the shop soon...
I am also smitten with my latest bunch of scraps from Lassie Girl...LOVE all of the yummy dots and new fabrics...and love that I can get my hands on some fabrics that I love without having to buy a yard of it.

Oh, and one more thing...if you are anything like me you will love this...want 1200 FREE prints? Go HERE and sign up for an account and you can get 50 free 4 by 6's and 50 free 5 by 7's per month!! :) Start the new year ahead of the game with already having your Christmas photos ordered! :) I had a friend who recently started using them and has no complaints. :)
P.S. If you sign up...use this link so I will get some additional free credits...you will too.
http://www.artscow.com/?Ref=520662

Don't forget my question of the day: What do you do to keep organized?
~*~

xoxo
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Do you?

If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that I don't often post videos...this one however so powerful and perfect...each and every time I see/hear it...it brings me to tears and and gets me excited for the time that Jesus will come...I am so glad I know Him....

That's My King...Do You Know Him?

I hope you will take three minutes to watch this...I would love to hear your thoughts on it...
I guarantee it will refresh you and get you motivated to go and DO! :)

xoxo
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Christmas in our house...

Christmas for us started on the 23rd...when my honey informed me that he had the 23rd and the 24th off!!!!...that makes the most time off, for Christmas , that he has had since we have known each other...it was heavenly...
Christmas Eve...we enjoyed hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows with breakfast...
...and breakfast was yummy, gooey cinnamon rolls...
...there was just a tad of excitement in the air...I think for all Moses knew daddy had off work and tomorrow was Jesus birthday...
...after Moses went to bed we set up these lights...leading from his room down to the tree...a little Christmas critter leading the way on each step...
...one of my favorite parts of being a parent is playing Santa. :) We got everything ready and just right...
...This little guy was waiting outside of Moses' bedroom door so he could see him first thing!!
...Moses was thrilled to have such a greeting on Christmas morning (he is naked because the first thing he does every morning is run to use the potty). :) I thought the snowman would save him some dignity. :)
...after he was dressed and ready to go downstairs, his excitement bubbled over at all of the Christmas critters showing him the way...
...just wish I could bottle the emotions a child shows on Christmas morning...
...he opened a couple of little gifts...then we managed to talk him into having some breakfast. :)
...our Christmas morning breakfast is monkey bread...mmmmm....this was the first time Moses got to have some (after he finished his oatmeal)...
...it was just about gone by lunch time...
...then back to the gifts...I was amazed at how much time he took with each gift...we spent the rest of the morning playing and hanging out...
...then both of the boys had to nap (Doug had to work Christmas night)...then we had dinner (chicken francaise and homemade mac and cheese) and sang happy birthday to Jesus (led by Moses) and had birthday cake. :) So basically we spent Christmas time relaxing, spending time together, playing and laughing and doing whatever we wanted. :) I think it was my favorite Christmas to date...my favorite gift?...besides having Doug home for TWO DAYS...my favorite gift is that my honey is treating me to a prenatal massage!!! :) Makes me forget that I was sick for Christmas...but makes me remember that I have the best husband e.v.e.r. :)
After Doug went to work I ended the night like this... :) Smiling the whole time at having such a wonderful family...I hope your Christmas was just as blessed...I would love to hear about it. :)

xoxo
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Merry Christmas!

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

He loves you that much! Merry Christmas to you! :)
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My wish for you....

So the last couple of days I have been reading the story of Christmas according to Luke. I am sure that many of you have read or listened to it a million times...we all know the great story and how it unfolded so many years ago...last night I lay awake thinking about how it could have all not happened...at least not the way that we know it...it could have all not happened that way if Mary and Joseph had let their humanness get in the way.

Think about it...a virgin birth? Finding out that your virgin fiance is pregnant? Seeing angels? None of that could have gone over well with those who did not experience it first hand...and it was all probably a lot to swallow if you were Mary or Joseph. I imagine moments where they had to feel a bit crazy, don't you think? I know I would in their shoes...crazy, scared, nervous, anxious, terrified of it being true...or not being true...It all sounds like a story too good or too out there to be true...but somehow...through their faith in God, Mary and Joseph moved forward to follow God's plan to bring His Son to the Earth. And of course God knew it would happen that way the whole time...He always knows. :)
Then I got to thinking about how many times in our lives we miss great moments...or what could have been great moments...because we allowed our humanness to get in the way? I am sure I have missed countless moments because I was too afraid of being called crazy, I was scared, nervous, anxious, terrified of it being true...or not being true. You know? Moments where I can look back and regretfully know that God wanted to use me...and I failed. And of course God knew it would happen that way the whole time...but when the next moment comes I always feel a little more sure, more trusting and God never fails to use me then...and those are the moments I remember most.

So my Christmas wish for you, and me, is that every day we let our humanness get less and less in the way...What if God has a Mary moment in store for us? I mean, Mary was an ordinary girl that had an extraordinary thing happen to her...what's to say that God doesn't have something grand planned for us...hidden among the every day?
God, after all, loves all of us as though there were only one of us, right?

I hope that makes sense to someone and not just me.
But even if it is just me, I am OK with that because I want to be ready if a grand moment comes my way. :)

Off to make a birthday cake for a Savior.
Love, Crystal :)
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Tree tour! :)

Every Christmas tree tells a story...whether all of your ornaments must match or you have ones that are years and years old...I like to think of our Christmas tree as a kind of scrapbook of our lives...there is no rhyme or reason to our tree...it's just full of things we love or things that hold a special meaning...like...
...in this photo you can see our new train ornament (Moses inspired) and a flamingo ornament to document our trip to Florida this past winter...we try to collect ornaments throughout the year to commemorate special things we did that year...
...some of them celebrate heritage, like the Norway flags...some are just cute, like the little tree...
...here is Moses' ornament from last year...he was obsessed with the Grinch...
...some show our school pride like my RU stocking...
...or the Hokie bird tucked back there...the turtle is from the trip to the beach where Doug proposed. :)
...some show our interests...Starbucks anyone?
...another one that is just cute...
...some are an obvious reminder...Target has been good to us...
...another recent interest for Moses...this is his ornament from this year...
...Moses first Christmas...and the only photo with Santa ever and since...albeit a creepy Santa...
...some are reminders of sweet friends...
...and sweet boys...that is little Doug on the left and Moses last year on the right...
...some remind us of family members...I made these last year out of Doug's grandmothers old cookie tins...
...like my little "wooden" shoes from my trip to Holland that year?...
...and there is a little Crystal too...apparently Santa phobias run in the family...
...my recent favorites are the ones that Moses "makes" in his little MOPS classes or Sunday school...something about an innocent little child making a baby Jesus Christmas craft just melts my heart...and manages to put everything in perspective...

Well that's our tree...or at least most of it...I would love to see yours too...be sure to leave a link or comment so I can come and visit. :)

Three more sleeps!!!! :)
xoxo
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A recap and a sneak peek...

Hello there friends...we had a great weekend off...too bad it's already over and my honey just left for work again...sigh...I miss him already...I truly do...the house is happier when we are all here together...I know Moses loves having his dad around to romp and play...especially since his mom can barely stand up and sit down. :) Thought I would share some of the highlights of our weekend...
Saturday morning we got bundled up and went on an ornament hunt...had to be bundled up because we were going to our downtown mall to hunt...it's all outdoors. We had just enough time to snag three fun new ornaments before it got too cold and started to rain. :)
Just love the vintage plane up there, the vintage carousel and not shown is a sweet little vintage train too. :) Love to see my tree being covered in all things boy...
Saturday night, Doug and I had our annual Krumkage making party(of two). :) These are a hit with his coworkers when we give them as little gift bundles...and it's fun to hang out without the distractions of TV or a toddler (Moses was already in bed).
Of course we had to sample a few to check for quality...
Then this afternoon we headed out to a nearby town to meet Doug's brother and his wife for lunch as they passed through on their way to NJ...Moses was excited to see them...even if he did clam up for the first few minutes of seeing them. :) When we got home the boys napped and I got all the cookie bundles ready for Doug to take to his coworkers...notice the plain brown boxes and nearly plain string? That is me holding back for my husband...if it were up to me you know they would be all Christmased up and fun. :)
I also found time to start work on some fun new things for the shop after Christmas...I just adore my fun new stamp...a personal motto...look for it on some hand dyed tags...
And I am hoping that you will love these sassy new bird tags as much as I do...LOVE how they are covered in goodness...and ready for a bird party. :)
I will also be having some limited edition towels...in fun candy colors. :) Get them when you see them because these colors won't be available for long...also in the works I have some cute owls, a fun new twist on clipboards, some cupcake goodness, heart-y things for Valentines, cards and more...hope you are as excited as I am. :)

Tomorrow I plan to give you a tour of my Christmas tree...I would love to see yours too...be sure to come back and comment on the tree tour post so I can come see. :)

Hope this finds you refreshed and ready to celebrate the awesome gift of CHRIST this week!! :)

xoxo

P.S. Some questions I have been meaning to answer: My camera is the Nikon D40x, the steam vac that I bought and LOVE is this one.
Someone asked how I decide who to send the Christmas Cheer packages to? I just send to who comes to mind...people who have been good to me over the year or people who I think need to know they are loved...don't worry about not being able to do for everyone...do what you can..if everyone did what they could then there would be a lot less to do in the world. Wouldn't you rather let ten people know they are loved and thought about then none? :)

P.P.S. I forgot to add a highlight for Moses...
Santa drove by our house on a firetruck!! With lights and all...Moses was actually thrilled and has talked about it since then...I was in the upstairs bathroom helping Moses on the potty...by the time I realized what it was (he came through last year too) I had to hurry and RUN downstairs (pregnant women should NOT run) with a half-naked child so that he could see...apparently he is OK with Santa if he is one a firetruck. :) We managed to get a diaper and pants on him so that he could get outside and see up close...I think it may have helped his Santa phobia by seeing him on one of his favorite things. :)
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Don't hate me...

...but I have few enough things (four to be exact) on my Christmas to do list that I laid on the couch for a whole hour yesterday...because I could...and I know that I can get those four things done in an afternoon...it was heaven...except that I didn't have a latte...do you see Moses there...pointing at that stack of paper? He is asking for "news papier"...aka tissue paper...
Since his gift wrapping session he is a little obsessed with the tissue paper...and I gladly pass it out...are you kidding me? for pennies he is occupied for hours...no joke...he did this for at least three hours the other day...some days it's just an hour or two...he just takes the tissue paper...rips it into smaller pieces and wraps things with it...trains, jingle bells (he calls them dings), other pieces of balled up tissue paper...whatever......he has carried some of his paper pieces out and about on our errands together...he carries them to the bathroom...into the shower...the other evening Doug was napping on the couch behind Moses...as Moses was playing with his tissue paper and watching Frosty for the umpteenth time...Doug woke up with a handful of tissue paper...that Moses had placed there as Doug slept...
...at the end of the day we usually have a pile like this...with other little tissue paper balls everywhere in the house...worth every penny...and worth me having to bend over to pick them up at the end of the day...it is so fun to see him so fascinated...
...and go ahead and get your fill...
...Moses says he is giving out eye candy to all the lucky ladies for Christmas...
...isn't he generous?
Just like his daddy. ;)

:) Hope your day is great...I am off to spend some much needed time with the loves of my life...Doug has TWO days off...in a row! :)

xoxo
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