Christmas/New Year’s Eve

I had a really amazing holiday. Of course, I forgot to take as many photos as I would have liked, but here’s a nice sampling of my Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

I got really excited when it snowed- We had a White Christmas!

We watched a lot of classic Christmas Shows!

I also did some fun Christmasy work stuff- like showing The Muppet Christmas Carol…

And walking in our First Annual Christmas Parade with my friend’s adorable daughter Macy.

There was a LOT of this..

And wrapping, eating, drinking, playing:

Our Christmas Eve Tradition- Chinese food! 

Christmas morning-

(Every Christmas morning we’ve ever spent together, I get out my camera and Brett exclaims, “Are you going to take pictures of me?!” The answer is always, “Uhm, yes.”)

I felt like a princess when I unwrapped this! My favorite..
Hanging out at Brett’s parents 

 And spending some awesome quality time with a couple of our favorites (Fries and Rachel and Kyle)

New Years Eve meant a new hair cut and some fun in Des Moines!

Confession: I still have not taken down a single Christmas decoration. Really hoping to tackle it this weekend but man! I really lost my fire for it!

Merry Christmas

I’m going to fully enjoy my holiday break and take a little vacation from blogging. I want to be fully present during the First Annual Comfy Cozy Moser Family Christmas. I’m sure I’ll take enough photos for a recap post.

Since we didn’t send out Christmas cards this year, I’ll leave you with my Christmas letter, which I plan to write this year and every year so I never get to far without reflecting on what a lucky, lovely life I really have.

Merry Christmas to my wonderful friends and family- who I know are the only ones silly enough to listen to what I have to say. I hope the blessings of the season triumph over any darkness you might have in your lives.

The happiest moment of my year. Right here John is saying, “I now pronounce you…”
(Photo Credit: Katie Day) 

                                                                                                December 2012
Dear Santa,
We have such an incredibly blessed year. I praise the Lord again as I think of His goodness and glory in 2012.
2012 was the year of the wedding! I went dress shopping with my bridesmaids and my moms (all 3 of them) and finally picked one out at Teresa’s Bridal here in Kirksville. We finally decided to have our ceremony and reception on Dad’s farm and spent the summer painting the barn red and working on getting the place wedding ready. I made flowers, painted signs, and gathered vintage jars and vases for our centerpieces. It was a labor of love.
October 6, 2012 was the big day and I’ve never been more acutely aware of the Lord’s love in my life. Surrounded by friends and family, Brett and I wed in a flurry of tears, laughter, and lots and lots of dancing. I’ll never forget those moments.
In other good news, I got my braces off in April and was so glad to be done with that process. No implants yet, but 2013 looks to be the year. In May, Brett and I also hosted a Rotary Exchange guest from Romania named Odi Onyejekwe. He and the whole group of Romanians were great to get to know. People really are the same everywhere. Over Memorial Day weekend and Brett’s birthday we visited our friends Tim and Shana in Chicago. We drank and ate our way through the city. Over the summer they moved to DC, Shana’s hometown, so I’m glad we got the chance to stay with them while they lived close. In June, Brett and I ran at the Hospital Hill Race with his mom. Brett and Marilyn ran the 10K and I ran the 5K. In between wedding planning, we also made time to go to the All Star Game in Kansas City in July. It was 3 days of baseball fun and we loved taking advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity. This year was the first summer at our apartment and we enjoyed our patio by grilling every chance we got. We love our new place and have made it very much our home.
No year is perfect of course and this year has certainly seen its challenges. After a long and not always smooth transition, I started a new job within my office in October as Assistant Tourism Director. Brett and I grew apart from old friends, but of course, grew closer to new ones. We are no strangers to illness, in ourselves and our families, but each day brings new opportunity for healing and peace.
As we approach our first Christmas as a married couple, I thank God for his glory. I feel blessed beyond measure. All I want for Christmas this year is everything I have.
Much love,

Catching Up

This weekend feels all about catching up.

Churning out another blog post.

Cleaning my house.

Finishing my wrapping.

Updating my budget.

Stocking my kitchen.

Let’s fit some fun in there alright?

This afternoon, my office is sponsoring a free movie- The Muppets Christmas Carol. I totally get paid to do this… super cool, right? After I’m finally going to make those Christmas sugar cookies. We bought cookie cutters just for the occasion!

I’ll also finish editing photos for these fine, fabulous folks… I think I’m in love:

We  also took some awkward prom pics. It could be my specialty.

Here are the results of another advent activity, Christmas Coloring Party!

For whatever reason, Brett and I colored all the time when we first started dating. This was the first chance I got to initial my picture “AJM.” 🙂

Lastly, as I go through the advent season, I do have to say I’m compelled to dwell on the more eternal reasons for the season. When I read this post on my cousin Katie’s blog about Celebrating Christmas, I was struck. I want to challenge myself to make Christmas about more than blessing the blessed. I think that’s relevant no matter what your affiliation.

A Pause

This has not been a stellar blogging week! Monday and Tuesday were sick days, which have resulted in my working full days for the rest of the week. Not a lot of time for blogging in there!

So expect to get back on schedule this weekend and I’ll hopefully have lots more fun Christmasy activities to share with you and maybe a recipe or two!

Tonight, I’m taking Christmas pictures of my bestie and her boyfriend with their cat and I’m definitely going to have to post a picture or two from that. I made these fun little photo booth props for the occasion.

I expect some amazing things to happen. Hang on to your seats!

Christmas Craft Tour: Homemade Gift Tags/Ornaments

I read A Beautiful Mess pretty religiously. And while some of the projects those girls do stem from their natural artistic ability (which I do not have) some set the bar low enough that I can feasibly achieve some success. Such are these gift tags! Here is the original post for the project. You’ll notice that I’ve copied it very closely, right down to the designs themselves. I’m a wonderful copy cat and a piss poor artist. Anyway, here’s the process!
Sculpey Clay is available at Walmart for about $6. My package made about 30 small gift tags. If you want bigger ornaments or have more tags to make- go for two. 
I don’t actually have any round cookie cutters so I used the cap from a plastic martini shaker and a small, square hors d’oeuvres bowl. 

Here’s my drawing process. You’ll notice that most of my tags turned out brown, not white like the original project. This is because once again, I failed to properly read directions. (Noticing a pattern here?) I really over-baked them because I expected for them to harden while baking. In reality, they harden as they cool and I didn’t realize that until the last 6 or so that I baked. However, my wrapping this year is just some brown kraft paper and string and so it goes quite well.

The original post recommends using a paint pen, but I found a sharpie worked just fine. See? 

The crop of them: 

I rounded them up, took them upstairs, and started wrapping away! I’m still not finished wrapping the gifts I’ve purchased! 

I’m really happy with how these turned out! They make the plain packages look special and personalized. The tags are tied up with gold ribbon and can be used as ornaments later! A definite success in my book. Inexpensive, easy, and impressive. 

Christmas Craft Tour: Tree Skirt

In my quest to find projects to use up my wedding burlap, I searched Pinterest for “burlap crafts.” What I came up with was a wealth of adorable DIYs that were totally doable with my hefty stash! When I found this tree skirt project, I knew it would be on my list of Christmas Craft “to-dos.” I’ve only been celebrating an “Amanda” style Christmas for about 5 or 6 years now and in that time, I haven’t found a tree skirt that I really treasured. I really love this one and I was able to use an old skirt that my grandma gave me last year. The only material I had to purchase was the linen fabric and LOTS of hot glue sticks! In terms of time, it was a Rio + Sunday afternoon length! (I measure my projects in terms of how many movies I can watch while working!) 
I cut up my burlap and fabric into 3 inch strips. The cutting and first row of gluing took most of one evening. 

The first row of ruffles. The ruffle technique took me a while to get used to. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right or not!

As with any project done in my house, it’s pretty critical to have the squirt bottle on stand by. Fatty is sort of a trouble maker.

Here he is, keeping a safe distance under the skirt-less tree. 

I will say, it does help to have a cuddly doggie near by!

One row done! I was pretty exhausted at this point. Bed time!

I picked back up with my row of linen fabric (and a brand new crafty work space! More on that later.) More folding and gluing!

Ta-da! I just trimmed my edges and fluffed. No tricks for finishing.

Here it is under the tree! It looks so at home. 

Here’s the tree and skirt in all its glory! I even had Christmas presents on hand for staging!

Merry Christmas and Happy Tree Skirt!

Day 2: Holiday House/Home Tour and a Sneak Peak!

Day 2 of our advent calendar activities took us to the Kirksville Arts Association to see their Holiday House Display. This event is a silent auction where wreaths and trees are raffled off as a fundraiser for the Arts Association.  The building is beautiful year-round but I’m partial to the Christmasy flair of this event. Here are some of my favorite wreaths!

Brett and my boss Debi and I also went on the Holiday Home Tour hosted by the Rotary Club. I love, LOVE fancy houses and the voyeuristic side of me was totally satisfied to wander around people’s homes. Look at these gorgeous trees.

This house had a loft style second floor that had their 3 daughter’s bedrooms and it was a princess paradise. I was beside myself with envy.

Their master bathroom suite had statues by the tub. Statues.

Just for fun, I thought I’d give you a sneak peak of what I’ve been up to craft-wise. You’ll see the full project in tomorrow’s post!

Day 1: Reindeer Romp

After a slightly rocky start (I accidentally put the slips of paper into the envelopes backward) Brett and I opened up our first advent envelope today! This one wasn’t too much of a surprise, since we’ve been registered for the 1.5 mile walk/4 mile run for about a week and a half. But since it fell on the first day of December, it was a good fit for the calendar anyway. My boss Debi and I registered for the walk. Debi even wore a Christmas sweater. So on theme. 

Brett is a super athlete and ran the 4 miles, even though he did virtually no training. He’s just awesome that way. Each participant got a pair of jingle bells to wear too!

I couldn’t exactly justify a 10 am beer since I only did the walk, but Brett definitely enjoyed his! It actually started raining a bit during the event which made for some strange weather. It was cold/humid. A weird combo. I opted for hot chocolate instead.

We decided to make it an impromptu date-day and went out for lunch. We also picked up ingredients to make these delicious cookies (a favorite we tried for the first time last year!) so we are having a practically perfect start to our First Annual Comfy, Cozy Moser Family Christmas!

Christmas Craft Tour: Advent Calendar

I’m so excited to celebrate our first Christmas as a married couple, but I’m worried that it will pass me by and I won’t have stopped to really enjoy it. The holidays come and go so fast. The easiest way to make sure I enjoyed a special moment each day was to make this advent calendar!

If you haven’t done so, you’ve got approximately a day and a half to throw one together yourself! If you are doing one on the fly, let me recommend this one which cost approximately 5 dollars and took about 30 minutes. It couldn’t be easier.

I used this blog post as inspiration and searched Pinterest (and my husband!) for good ideas to put inside.

Here’s my calendar, hanging on my mantel:

And a close up of the envelopes:

Each envelope has an idea for a mini-date inside! It was a little tricky to come up with inexpensive, easy ideas that I thought we’d want to do every day. Want to see my ideas? Here’s a pdf with my entire slate of activities. If you live in Kirksville, you could pretty much just print this off and use it yourself! If you’d like to make your own, the fonts I used are Kingsthings Christmas, Christmas on Crack, and KG Eyes Wide Open.

I recommend checking out your community calendars and going to as many of the free events as you can!

Making the calendar itself was quite easy! I downloaded the labels that Bloom Design provided. Rather than spend EIGHT STINKIN DOLLARS on label paper, I just printed them on copy paper, cut them out, and used good ole Elmer’s glue to stick them to the treat bags I picked up at Hobby Lobby for about $2.50. I scrounged up some clothespins and we were in business!

I love how easy this project is, how great it looks on my mantel, and my hope is that it will help make our Christmas season even more special. Can’t wait to get into them!

Christmas Craft Tour: The Wreath

So I’ve got a nice manageable list of Christmas Crafts going to help us celebrate the First Annual Comfy, Cozy Moser Family Christmas in style. To my mind, this is where Pinterest thrives! I’m really looking forward to spending time crafting and using those crafts to make our home more comfy, more cozy, and more Christmasy! Want a sneak peak? You can check out my Pinterest board to see what I’ve got in mind this year! 

The first craft I want to show off is our wreath, inspired by this post, over at The Paper Mama.

I have lots of burlap left over from the wedding, but it’s already been cut into pieces so I’m trying to find creative, but smaller projects to use it up on. This wreath was a perfect fit. I followed the tutorial pretty closely, but used a few different materials.

 Supplies. This was an delightfully inexpensive project. I picked up a couple straw wreaths at Walmart this fall and had no plans for my second one. Using it for this was a no brainer. I picked up my ribbon and berry embellishments at Hobby Lobby last weekend. 
 The tutorial used a really wide burlap ribbon, but I just cut mine into strips. 

 Like the tutorial, I didn’t even bother removing the plastic wrap from my wreath. Just started wrapping and gluing my burlap. 
 I didn’t feel like getting another style of ribbon so I used the plaid to wrap around the wreath. A dab of glue was all I needed. 

 Hot gluing the fancys. I put mine in a spot where the burlap looked funny. 
 I had to follow the ribbon instructions carefully. I can’t tie a bow to save my life. 
Complete! You’ll notice I skipped the pinecones. I wasn’t against it, but they didn’t have any at Hobby Lobby and I just didn’t want to go out and look for them. You’ll find this to be a comfy, but lazy Christmas season for me! 
More Christmasy Crafts to come!