gingerbread houses!

Since the dawn of time we have always done our gingerbread houses with our old neighbors, our Fitzs. Or at least since the dawn of having a child. Same thing. This year we just couldn't make it happen and so it was just a solo affair, us Olsens. And three kits from the local grocery store. Not the caliber of a Steph creation but hey, you do what you can. 

Those kits are actually pretty fantastic and the kids had a great time making each one their own... and of course eating some candy and icing along the way. I don't even mind having their houses lined up on the school desks in the playroom! 

crinkle cake cookies - for christmas!

Love me a good alliteration. 

I made these for the home tour because they were easy and festive and they were such a big hit! I haven't given out a recipe that often in quite a long time! So I figured I would share it here as well. I doubled the recipe and got about four dozen cookies, depending on how big you make your balls. Ahem.

ladies who ornament at potteryworks

We always make ornaments. Every year, it never fails. I mean, it fails.... They rarely turn out like their Pinterest versions but we sure laugh trying! This year someone had the idea to head into Potteryworks and take an already made ornament and just paint it! Make a day out of it! How can we go wrong!? We left the boys and Audrey at home because well... bulls in a China shop, my boys.

A few of us chose to do just balls with a fun crackle glaze, my mom after much deliberation chose a stocking and Mikayla chose a Rudolph.  Just to give her mother some gray hairs and really test her patience. A week later we were able to pick them up! After painting and some issues with a parking meter we had ourselves a nice little lunch, just us girls. Some of these photos are taken by my sister-in-law and sister!

week one of our advent calendar

So we are (almost) a week into our advent calendar. Just crossing things off my festive to do list one day at a time! Annnnd this is what we did!

Day one was game night! Which I moved around a bit and made it a game afternoon. We never play games. Literally never. It never ends well. And it doesn't take me too long to remember why. But we played a few games. Fought a few times. Pouted even more times. And done.

kid ornament night and cousin christmas jams!

A tradition that I hope never dies is dressing up all my nieces and my nephew and my kids in matching Christmas jammies. It's getting to be a bit of a struggle when one considers finding pajamas in a size ten and then all the way down to a size nine month or whatever that sweet cheeked Aud is in these days. But we did it! Yet again! I just love each of these smiling faces so so so much!

a holiday home tour: the master bedroom and a bit of the bathroom

Blame. The. Tour. I usually only have one ceramic tree in our bedroom but obviously that would not do. And I couldn't be happier about waking up to Christmas. I didn't go too nuts here.... Some pops of red, inexpensive flocked trees from Target, pine cones, and some silver balls. Done and done. Except not because what steals the show in my opinion is that oh so pretty sign from the very lovely Sara at The Moxie Shoppe. Locals must check her out! I have so many things throughout my house from her place!

a holiday home tour: the powder room

This was definitely of the "blame the home tour" category. Because I usually don't do much in here other than my chalkboard. It can't be helped, is what I say. I hit up the dollar spot at Target for the tree on the sink... The garland around the mirror is also Target. There's just something about pine and Christmas is there not? The printables on the pallet wall I found here. As far as the shelves go I added some faux trees from Target, where else? I have purchased so many of these trees I have lost count. You can't beat that cost! And then Joanna's of course. Throw some pinecones up there too and I called it good! 

a holiday home tour: the family room

The big cahuna! The main event! The big tree! As I was decorating it this year I was like well it could practically be a Disney tree. Every big trip we take we always buy an ornament, and have since I was a little kid. And you have to get one for each kid too, so then that means I get four ornaments every time we hit Disney. So that's a lot of Mickey. It's also a lot of New England and a lot of the Caribbean. So maybe we should just go with it is a travel tree? Or a beautiful hodge podge of ornaments, new and old!

New this year is my entire mantle. I finally said goodbye to my Snowbaby collection (or gave it to Letty) and so I practically had a clean slate. I got the sign from Home Decor Warehouse, as well as the greens and the garland. I tried to keep it neutral and I love it so. Also new is our rug! Found at Target here. Bye bye natural fiber jute rug! 

a holiday home tour: the kitchen

The heart of the home! Surrounded by all last year's Christmas cards and so many of their smiling faces! I love having a festive coffee area and a place to show off all the holiday mugs I seem to have accumulated. I also love my galvanized tiered tray. I feel like it's my favorite thing to decorate through all the various holidays. And! My lovely friend Janelle went to Waco last month and she brought my back my very first ever real live Joanna purchase! I mean other than Target I mean legit Magnolia!!! Eeeek! Thank you lady!

a holiday home tour: the dining room

Not much changed in this space other than the addition of my beloved homemade shoe rack.... Which I mean, I just love so much! Give me some pine cones and some ornaments and I will make it festive! This is the story of my life this Christmas season. Pine cones. Ornaments. Everywhere. This room is far more neutral than the rest of my house and that always makes it a favorite of mine.

a holiday home tour: the playroom

I was going for more of a theme this year when it came to this room. Blame the home tour once more! The playroom is such a mess. So much color and disorganization! But I wanted it to sort of be like a Santa's Workshop.... Get it? The toys are allowed! He makes toys! My Santa collection always goes in there anyway so this wasn't much of a stretch. And why yes, I do have a Santa collection. Going on twelve years now. I got two new signs, the Santa bottle cap and the Santa Clause Lane from our local Home Decor Warehouse. The small stockings were from Target's Wondershop. I had Matt make that mail box for me. Well, I bought the actual box portion at the aforementioned warehouse, spray painted it red and added some gold powder to the letters, but Matt made me a stand. I think the kids are going to have so much fun sending letters back and forth with Cornelius, our nixy elf!

a holiday home tour: the foyer

I've been waiting to post my Christmas decor because I volunteered to be in my home town's Holiday Tour of Homes and so... Had to keep all the locals in suspense am I right? Wink wink. Hence the weird post at a weird time. I am even going to go crazy here and do two posts a day because hey, maybe I can inspire someone right? Gotta get it in before the season passes! We all know I have my house decorated for Christmas well before Thanksgiving and there were many reasons for that. One: I love it. B: It's a lot of work (six days with 20,000 steps per day work). iii) I had this home tour to consider. Four: I want to just sit back and relax and enjoy December (I'm also the type to get all her holiday shopping done before Halloween). But mainly: I just love Christmas. Like, it's the best. So. Anyways. First up on my tour! The foyer!

I finally got a foyer tree! Well, to be precise, two of them. I always thought a tree in the corner in the foyer would look amazing. And Matt always thought one in our foyer window would be amazing. So we got both! Blame the home tour! This is my first flocked tree and I. Love. It. I kept it real simple with just white and red mercury glass ornaments.... some pine cones I spray painted, big white snowflakes, some red sprigs of berries, and a fur ribbon as a garland.