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Christmas Traditions

My family is big on traditions. We eat the same meals, bake the same cookies and open presents in the same order every year at Christmas. For me, this is how I grew up, so it seems very normal to me. I don’t like change unless it involves changing from my daily life to a vacation in the Carribbean or changing my jeans to a smaller size. I know what to look forward to and really, why mess with a good thing. My mom’s cookies are delicious.

Growing up we visited Iowa every year for the holidays. Both of my parents’ families are from Cedar Rapids and Des Moines and those were my fondest memories. Once I got married and had kids, we spent Christmas in Cincinnati. It was the only way to split the holiday between two families. We decided last Christmas (so we could mentally prepare David’s family) that we would be going to Iowa this year. I’m excited to experience Christmas the way it used to be. One of my favorite memories was counting the ceiling tiles on Christmas Eve in my grandparent’s basement because I couldn’t sleep. It has a lot of great memories.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is making spritz cookies with my mom and dad. Mom made the dough, Dad and I twisted the candy canes. This year Hailey was old enough to participate while still keeping them looking like candy canes.

I hope you and your family enjoy your traditions, or enjoy doing something totally different than the year before. Merry Christmas! I’ve got some big plans for my blog in 2010, see you in the new year.

creative giftwrap

I usually have presents wrapped and under the tree by now…but my tree skirt is bare. I have a pile full of gifts still in their bags. I am hoping to make it to the craft store tomorrow to get some pretty ribbon and supplies for wrapping. I did a quick search for some wrapping ideas and found these beautiful packages. Don’t you just love wrapping?

1. attaching an ornament to decorate the package, adds an extra gift., 2. these look like recipe cards for tags, how cute!, 3. loving the teal and red combo, 4. classic red on white, 5. double up on ribbon to make the wrapping the best part, 6. Skip the tags, make the name part of the packaging

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys

My life is chaos. I think that is true for most moms who work at home. I’m trying to have the best of both worlds; seeing my kid’s first steps and also building a career as a designer. This causes there to be a very faint line between work and home. One minute I’m filling a sippy cup with juice, the next minute I’m trying to keep the kids quiet so I can answer a client’s phone call. It’s a crazy existence, but I love my job and I love that I haven’t missed a thing when it comes to my kids.

Currently, my office is in a few different places throughout the house. The press is in the garage and that’s where all the printing happens. In our finished basement we have desks, filing cabinets, inventory, and shipping supplies. My laptop, where about 80% of the work happens, is with me wherever I go. So, you see where the line gets blurred.

Blogs are a great place to dream and create things that might not ever exist anywhere else. So, for Christmas, let’s dream up a perfect studio…

The finished basement is a large open room that holds the office, play area, tv/couch area and a big open space of nothing. I would love to create more of a designated space with these dark hardwood floors.

To top my beautiful floors, I have been drooling over this work table from Pottery Barn.

I rarely sit at a desk to work, so wouldn’t this chair from Urban Outfitters be lovely to have for sketching, pondering or just sipping a cup of coffee.

To divide up the large space, I would love to have this panel system from IKEA.

Looks good, right? Oh, a girl can dream.

holiday wrap up

Being away from home is a nice break from the normal pace of life. When you’re staying at someone’s home there’s no laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping or other household chores. But, it’s Monday. And we’re back at home, slammed with all the things we put off for those days we were gone. Hence, this blog post. Let’s remind ourselves how great being away actually was, and put off responsibilities a little bit longer.

We headed to Cincinnati for the holiday. It started off in a great way, at the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s a sign that Christmas is here…Santa’s reindeer, hot chocolate and a train ride through the lights.

One of the other highlights of the visit was making my mom’s famous homemade apple pie. Hailey was a big helper this year and was a master at the apple peeler-slicer-thingy.

This year, David was determined to fry the turkey. My family is very strong in tradition. We’ve had the same Thanksgiving meal for years. So, needless to say, this was tough for my Dad to let go of. But, it was delicious! They put some shrimp in the fryer first. Hailey ate most of them and didn’t eat a bite of dinner.

I’ve been trying to get our Christmas cards off of my to-do list so we had a photo shoot while we were away. In the past we’ve done pictures with the dogs, or just Hailey. Getting two kids to smile was more difficult than I thought, but here’s my favorite outtake.

Another experience that I had the joy of experiencing was Black Friday. I’ve never traded sleep for a good deal, but with kids sleeping and babysitters, we figured it was too good to pass up. David woke me up at 4:45am! Having kids has definitely changed his priorities. He was determined to get one of Hailey’s gifts for $20 off! I hope you enjoyed your holiday break, now it’s officially Christmastime…fa la la la la la.


I love Thanksgiving. I saw a segment on TV the other day asking turkey or the sides? I’m definitely a sides girl. Turkey is my least favorite part of the meal. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole…and my mom’s homemade apple pie with Graeter’s cinnamon ice cream. Delicious.

We’re headed to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving. Luckily we worked out a plan to not eat two meals in one day. The second meal never gets the attention it deserves. If you’ve seen that Girlmore Girls’ episode where they eat four Thanksgivings in a day…you end up skipping the rolls just to make room. Clearly, the rolls are one of the best parts.

Anyway, on to the important stuff. Besides the food, I love Thanksgiving because it doesn’t involve presents. The sole purpose of the holiday is to remember how lucky you are for everything you have in life and to really prove the point to yourself, you stuff your face. It’s a great holiday. I’m thankful for so many things, but to name a few…

Healthy, happy, funny children
A husband that I’ve been lucky enough to be with for half of my life
A house, job and income that provides us more than enough
I can work in my PJs at home with my kids
Amazing church who I have the joy of working for, work that is more satisfying than anything else

Those are the biggies, I could go on all for a while. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

ballerina and dinosaur

Halloween seems to be a much bigger holiday than I remember as a kid. We had four Halloween related activities in the last week. The positive side of that is that the kids got good use of their costumes. Hailey had insisted on being a princess, but I did my best to encourage something else. She plays dress up almost daily, including a decked out head-to-toe Cinderella outfit. I figured we should do something else for Halloween…so we settled on a ballerina. A friend of ours made her a bright pink tutu so it wasn’t your typical ballerina. I found hot pink tights and a white leotard on ebay, it was a fairly easy costume. Andrew was a dinosaur or dragon, not sure which. Here are a few pictures of the kids in their costumes.

Hailey at her Fall Party at preschool, with her bestest bud, Josie.