Holiday Planning Guide with Free Printables

Hard to believe it’s time to plan for the holidays already!  With Thanksgiving just about here and only a few weeks left until Christmas, I decided to share my Holiday Planning Guide with free Printables with you early this year.  Not to stress you out about the impending holiday season, but to help you get organized early!!

Entertaining is so, so stressful.  But you know, in a good way.  As in, I-wouldn’t-have-it-any-other-way.  I LOVE entertaining.  I love that we made the executive decision that {since we made the grandkids} everyone can come to us for the holidays.  Not to mention our Christmas Eve Brunch that we do for the neighbors each year.  But, the joy of entertaining also means the stress of cleaning, cooking and planning.

Holiday tradition of footy pajamas on Christmas Eve! Palmettos and Pigtails

Last year, I finally got smart and wrote everything down.  I basically make the same food every year, but I always struggle to remember what I make, and fumble to find the recipes.  So last year I got organized.  And I made a bunch of documents that will go straight into our House Manager Binder.  Although, with the amount of entertaining we do, it may need it’s own binder soon!

Holiday Planning Guide with Free Printables to Keep Your Holiday Organized! Palmettos and Pigtails


Because I’m making this for my own personal use, I’m gonna give you access to the files.  However, you won’t be able to edit them.  But feel free to print them out and use them for yourself!  I got all the little buttons as free downloads from the digital scrapbooking site, Shabby Princess.  And I got the fonts (Pea Carol) from Kevin & Amanda…also free.  So technically, you can make your own version of these as well!  And if you decide to pin any of these images, please remember link them back to this page!! Thanks!

I’m telling you, there are a lot of printables in this file, but it’s really everything you need for planning your whole Christmas week.  Here’s a sneak peek of the Table of Contents.  See below for the links to each document.

Holiday Planning Guide from Palmettos and Pigtails: Free printables to keep you organized!

Click on each link to get to the Google Drive Document.  You’ll be able to download, but not edit.  You’ll see some items have two pages…they are the same document, but with different graphics in case you want to print two different sets!

Holiday Planning Guide Cover Page

Holiday Planning Guide Cover Page AND Table of Contents

December Calendar

Gift Planner

Christmas Card List

Party Planner 1

Party Planner 2

Holiday Baking Recipes, Page 1

Holiday Baking Recipes, Page 2

Event Planner

Christmas Eve Meal Planning

Christmas Day Meal Planning

Christmas Eve Shopping List

Christmas Day Shopping List

Meal Recipe Cards, Page 1

Meal Recipe Cards, Page 2

Thank You Note List

I’d love your feedback on this guide…did I miss anything?  What was the most helpful page for you?  Happy Planning!

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Pamper Holiday Guests with a DIY Welcome Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HostingHacks #CollectiveBias

One of my favorite things about the holidays is a full house.  With both sets of grandparents, a great-grandma, and a couple of aunts and uncles coming into town to join our family circus, a “full house” is an understatement.  But I love every second of the chaos!

Although over the holidays we stash people on any free surface we can find, we do have one “official” guest room.  It’s ideal, really, because it’s in our F.R.O.G. {Finished Room Over Garage}, which means it’s completely separate from the rest of the house, with its own staircase and bathroom.  It’s the perfect amount of privacy for our guests.

But once they arrive in our guest room, I want them to be able to make themselves at home.  There is nothing more awkward than settling into your guest room just to realize that you’ve forgotten some essential packing item….especially when your host family has already retired to their quarters on the other side of the house!  So I like to make sure there are a few essential items in our guest room ready for our VIPs.

Pamper your Guests this Holiday Season with these Secret Tips! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @CostcoTowels and Pillows.  We have extra towels stocked in the bathroom, and more pillows in a spare drawer in the dresser.  I also make sure there are lots of pillows on the bed, and the pillows are all different types {soft and firm}, to cater to even the most discerning sleeper.  And my secret trick with keeping my towels and linens smelling extra good is washing them with Downy Unstopables.  Pamper your Guests this Holiday Season with these Secret Tips! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @CostcoI get the best deal by buying it in bulk at Costco, and I use it on all of my linens.  And since the scent lasts for 12 weeks, it’s perfect for a guest room…your sheets and towels will automatically smell fresh for the next visitor who shows up! Pamper your Guests this Holiday Season with these Secret Tips! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @CostcoToiletries.  Since my guests have decided to take their vacation in my home, I want to pamper them as much as possible.  And, the difference is in the details!  I splurge on the bulk packs of Charmin’ at Costco for extra soft toilet paper.  I love that although they arrive in bulk, I can split up the packs of toilet paper for storage in all of the bathrooms in the house.Pamper your Guests this Holiday Season with these Secret Tips! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @CostcoI also keep tissues in the bedroom as well as the bathroom.  I make sure there is shampoo, conditioner and soap in the shower.  I stock up for all of my household and guest needs in one complete trip to Costco.  And since I’m buying everything in bulk, it’s cheaper AND I don’t have to worry about running out of anything while I’m entertaining guests!Pamper your Guests this Holiday Season with these Secret Tips! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @CostcoWater.  Bottles of water, at least 2 per person.  I’ve found that the small 8oz. Kirkland brand bottles from Costco are the perfect size for a guest room stash.

Snacks.  My favorite thing to leave for my guests is a little jarred mix of chocolate, peanuts, raisins, M&M’s, peanut butter chips and Heaven.  And I found that if I used the left over small jelly mason jars from Lincoln’s Cowboy birthday party, it’s just the right amount for a midnight snack!Pamper your Guests this Holiday Season with these Secret Tips! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @CostcoSpace.  I make sure that our spare dresser has an empty drawer for our guests to use, and there are hangers and space in the closet for any hanging garments.  I also make sure the physical space is comfortable for everyone: by keeping the dog out {in case someone is sensitive to animal hair}, having the temperature set at 72, and having flowers and house plants decorating the room.  I also check that the alarm clock is NOT set {no surprise wake ups!}, but the time IS accurate.Pamper your Guests this Holiday Season with these Secret Tips! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @CostcoEntertainment.  I stock a variety of magazines and books in our guest room {everything from Southern Living to Parents, to tourist pamphlets}.  It’s also nice to leave a house key, or at least the code for your garage so your guests can come and go as they please.Free printables and tutorials on how to go above and beyond for Holiday Guests #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @CostcoWe have a television for them to use too, but we don’t have traditional cable, so a little cheat sheet on how to work our Netflix and the remote is nice to include, as well.   
I also have our Wi-Fi information framed so our guests can use the internet easily.  If you like this idea, feel free to download a blank copy of it for yourself {save it to your computer and then upload it in PicMonkey to add your own info in a fancy print!}#DIY Welcome Basket with tutorial, free printables and a list of essentials! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @CostcoDIY Welcome Basket of Personal Items.  These items kind of depend on the guests that are staying with us.  For example, I add diapers, creme, baby shampoo and wipes to the basket when our visitors include little ones.  But some of my staples are: toothbrush, toothpaste, flossing sticks, makeup remover, Q tips, cotton balls, nail file, band-aids, razor, deodorant, feminine products, hairbrush, etc.  I buy all of these one-time use items in travel-size so I can easily replace them, and my guests can feel comfortable about taking {and keeping!} what they need.

And don’t you just love my little basket?  It was the perfect size, but kind of plain, originally.  So I used some scrap fabric and some rope to make a super simple DIY Welcome Basket.

#DIY Welcome Basket with tutorial, free printables and a list of essentials! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @Costco

First, you want to make sure your fabric is big enough to cover the bottom and the sides of your basket all the way around, plus about 2 inches extra on each side {to account for seams and the drawstring}.  Your drawstring can be made out of anything that is long enough to fit snugly around the outside of the basket, with enough left over to tie in a knot.

Then, you want to round your corners for easier sewing.  Fold over your raw edge with wrong sides together and sew about a half-inch seam {or big enough to pull your drawstring through}.  It does not have to be a pretty, straight sewn line, as it will be gathered and on the inside of the basket!  Make sure you leave a small opening to pull your drawstring through.

Pull your drawstring through the seam.  I do this by tying my string to a large closed safety-pin and slowly working it through the “tube” that was created when you sewed the seam.

When you have both ends sticking out of the opening, place the fabric in your basket with the pattern side up, and pull the edges of the fabric over the sides of the basket.  Your drawstring {inside the fabric} should fit snuggly around the outside of the basket.  Pull your drawstring ends tight toward each other and tie together.  Arrange the fabric so that all of the gathers are spread evenly over the basket, and then tuck the drawstring and the knot under the fabric so it’s all hidden.

And stock your basket!
#DIY Welcome Basket with tutorial, free printables and a list of essentials! #HostingHacks #ad #CollectiveBias #HolidayHosting #ad @Costco

Your guests should have everything that they need for a relaxing vacation in your home!

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What do you stock up on from Costco to make your guests feel special?

Linking up here this week!


DIY St. Patrick’s Day T-Shirt

Today’s tutorial is one of my favorites so far.  It was so stinkin’ easy, and I just loved how it turned out!  If you like this tutorial for my DIY St. Patrick’s Day T-Shirt please share and pin it!  Spread the love!

DIY St. Patrick's Day T-ShirtMaterials:

a clean t-shirt
permanent markers of various shades of the color you want
freezer paper {NOT WAX paper!}
piece of cardboard for the inside of the shirt
DIY St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt

Use the wax paper to cut out your design.  You can use a pencil to sketch it out first, just be sure that you keep in mind that the waxy side of the paper will be ironed down onto your shirt.

DIY St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt

Be sure your iron is NOT on any steam settings, and gently press down onto your wax cutout.  Do NOT move the iron around.  The picture above was posed…when I actually ironed on the shamrock, I covered the design completely with the iron.  Press for about 15 seconds and then lift straight up.

DIY St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt

When your cutout is ironed on, insert a piece of cardboard into the inside of the shirt.  The permanent markers WILL bleed through, so this is essential!  I chose several shades of green, and then a contrasting brown color for my shamrock.

DIY St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt

I started out with one color and just made random dots all around my cutout.  Be sure that you make quick, straight up-and-down marks, so they make dots and not lines.  Repeat with all of your colors.  Be sure to get some dots right at the edge of your paper cutout.  Do NOT fill in all gaps around the edge of the cut-out!

DIY St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt

I made my dots more concentrated closer to the edges of my cutout, and then spread them out more and more the further away I went.  I really like how that turned out!

DIY St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt Tutorial

When you are finished with your dots, just peel your cutout off of your t-shirt.  Isn’t it cute?  Now nobody’s pinching my baby!

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I’m linking up here this week!

A Minted Christmas Card – A Vote

We are a week and a half out from Lincoln’s Baptism Celebration….and then four days later, Thanksgiving.  And then the Christmas Season.  Because around here, it truly is its own season.  Every weekend we have a party or event to go to.  School days are filled with Christmas crafts, Operation Christmas Child, and Nativity programs.  And my evenings are spent planning, sewing and shopping.  Y’all, where does the time go in December?

But, it’s not December. Yet.  So as far as I am concerned, I’m ahead of the game.  For now.  This week, I’m starting to think about Christmas cards.  Those beautiful little reminders of how blessed we all are.

Blog Christmas Card

This was my homemade Christmas card from 2012.  This year, I’m teaming up with to share their 2014 Christmas Card line.  They are giving me a chance to try some of their gorgeous Christmas cards to send out this year….but I’m having a hard time deciding!!!

That’s where you come in.  I need your help!  I’ve chosen a few of my favorite styles {it’s super easy to Pin and to Favorite each card you like on their website}, and was wondering if you can weigh in with your pick.  Leave me a comment with which one you like best!

Choice #1: Year in a Nutshell

Year in a Nutshell Photo Card from

It’s a little more modern than I typically do, but I love that you can add your “stats” and highlights too!

Choice #2: Love Tree

Love Tree Christmas Card from

Choice #3: Very Merry Flourish

Very Merry Flourish Christmas Card by

I like that the shape is different and pretty….but it’ll be hard for me to find a vertical picture of our family that I like!

Choice #4: Bright Days

Bright Days Christmas Card by

So here’s a compromise that is pretty and horizontal!

Choice #5: Heart, Halo, Hooray!

Heart, Halo, Hooray! Christmas Card by

Keep in mind that if you click on the link in each card’s name, you can play around with the color of the lettering and the cut style of the card.

Which one do you think I should choose?

Check out this week’s awesome deals: 15% off Holiday cards and 20% off Foil-pressed cards.  Click here for details.

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And Fall Begins….

Fall has always been my favorite time of year.  It represents the excitement of school starting, the anticipation of the holiday season {which we almost always host}, the entrance of cooler weather {finally!} and the general feeling of starting anew.

Not to mention the pumpkin carving, hay rides, Halloween parties, family gatherings, pumpkin flavored everythings….etc.

And the past few years, Fall has also been my downfall.

For some reason, Fall judges me.  She wonders why I haven’t put curtains up on all of my windows yet {hey, at least the kitchen has some now!!}.  Fall persuades us year after year to throw a crazy-scary Halloween party.  She screams at me to try every recipe in my Southern Living Magazine, and to transform myself into Martha Stewart in order to host the perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house.  Fall taunts me with her Pinterest Boards: flaunting beautiful seasonal mantles, whimsical door wreathes and cozy sewing tutorials.  Fall pressures me into starting projects that I can’t possibly hope to finish before She ends, and continues to stress me out throughout her entirety.

And for whatever reason, I love Fall for doing this to me.  Maybe it’s because I work well under pressure….she pressures me to finish everything before the end of the year.  She is always on top of me…pushing me to learn new things, try new recipes, get out of my comfort zone. I love that she brings out my nesting tendencies, and when its ALL finally finished {just in the nick of time!}…she whispers to me that I need deserve that Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.

And for all of this….Fall is my favorite time of year.

Easter Bunny Bowling

Well, aren’t I the crafty one lately!!  I told you I have been working on lots of things….  I think it must be my daily schedule.  I seem to be more on track lately and better able to manage my time (which gives me more ME TIME!). You know that we have put ourselves on a budget, but did you know we are also on a diet?  I’ll have to post more about that another time (just know we have lost almost 10 pounds each within the last month!!).  Because of these two factors, I have been searching for some creative, cheap Easter basket stuffers.  I didn’t want to fill the girls’ baskets with tons of candy and junk, and didn’t want to spend a ton on little Easter-themed junk either.  So what did I do?  I turned to Pinterest, of course!

I found a free pattern for these cute little guys on etsy….free! courtesy of The Long Thread .  Hers were solid colors with patterned ear-insides.  But I had some beautiful spring scraps that I decided to use instead.

And I had the hardest time finding a hard wooden ball to serve as the bowling ball.  I finally found one at A.C. Moore….but it’s actually a doll head, and a little flat on one side.  So I plan on sanding it down a little more so it rolls better, and then painting it brown and modge podging something cute on….TBD.  I just have to find a naptime when both girls are down to break out the paint and glue!

I chose six fabrics, but made sure that they were grouped in pairs that matched, because I wanted the ears to coordinate with the bodies.

If you try this project, here are a couple of hints: Although I loved the darker, busier patterns (my reds!)….it’s much harder to see the embroidered faces because of this.  However, the lighter fabrics made the dark embroidery floss show through….so make sure to trim if you use lighter fabric.  I had planned to add a little something for a tail, but I forgot…so let me know if you try this and add one-I’d love to see your ideas!  Also, I did use a 1/2 cup of rice like the directions stated, but I filled the bunnies up with a little more stuffing than she prescribed….to about an inch from the bottom.  And finally, I don’t really like my ears.  I was worried about them being too short, so I was stingy on the seams….when actually the opposite happened and I think they are a little long (they have a hard time standing up!).  So feel free to extend their seam allowance a little (maybe to 1/2″)…and maybe your bunnies’ ears will be perkier!

Here’s the direct link to the pattern

I’m linkin’ up this week…and I have some new linky parties so be sure to check them out for other Spring inspiration!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Top of the…uh….evenin’ to ya!  I had every intention of writing this post this morning, and then life happened!  We aren’t really celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year, but if I had like three extra hands and about 6 more hours to each day….we totally would have!!

But alas, Pinterest has made me jealous yet again of those out there who apparently do have a longer day than I do!  Check out what could have been….

Had I made cake pops…


 Had I decorated my door…

Tatertots and Jello 

Had I dressed the baby…

The Adventures of the Stepanoffs

Had I not broken my sewing machine this morning….


Had I been a crafty mama with my kids…

B. Inspired Mama 

Had I used a little more toilet paper….

 Moments of Mommyhood

Had I gone to the gym….

Holy Taco (FYI: I don’t condone this site…I was just trying to be funny while still giving them photo credit)

So, I admit I wasn’t super mom this year.  However, I did have a little leprechan magic happen in our kitchen when Jayna’s milk and eggs magically turned green!  She was so suprised!

Have a great St. Patty’s Day!

A Little Bit of Love

Usually, Valentine’s Day isn’t so big of a deal in our house.  I’d like to think that we are pretty good at showing our love on a daily basis….so usually Dave and I just go out to dinner…maybe a glass of wine.  This year, though, thanks to Pinterest and a big sale at Michael’s, I had lots of inspiration!!

 Found this idea here…took a toilet paper roll and used it to stamp hearts on butcher paper to serve as wrapping paper.

Found this idea on pinterest, and did it myself….but her idea was a little more sophisticated!

I’m a firm believer in telling my family I love them multiple times a day, but heart-shaped peppermint patties also are an excellent way to spread some Valentine’s Day cheer!

Inspiration and recipe found from here …however I modified it a little and took my own pics!

Here’s how I made them:

P.S.- You’ll also need a couple of unsweetened baking squares of chocolate.

Combine 3oz of cream cheese, 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract and 1/2 tsp of red food coloring until creamy.  Slowly add between 2 and 2 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar….I added it 1/2 cup at a time to prevent the powder from going everywhere!  Add the sugar until the consistency of the mixture is slightly crumbly.

Scoop out the crumbles and form them all into a ball…they will stick together once you start working it with your hands…..then flatten it into about 1/2 inch thick disk.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out your patties.

Place your patties (separated by parchment paper to prevent sticking) in an airtight container and stick them in the fridge for about 1/2 hour to firm up.  Jayna and I used this time to clean up a little!

Then, cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  I originally used cookie racks and foil-both of which FAILED (so disregard that aspect of the following pictures!).  Just use a cookie sheet (or other flat surface that will fit in your fridge) and parchment paper for easy removal.

Dump half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a couple of unsweetened chocolate baking squares into a deep, microwaveable container.  I used a big coffee mug.

Microwave the chocolate for about 30 seconds and stir to mix until all the chocolate is melted.  If it’s too thick….add a little vegetable oil.  It should drip off of a spoon pretty easily.

Here comes the messy part….

Use a spoon and tongs to completely cover each patty, gently tapping the tongs against the side of the mug to get any excess chocolate off of the patty.  Carefully place the patty onto the parchment papered cookie sheet.  Use a toothpick to spread chocolate over any exposed parts of the peppermint patty.  If you’d like, use a shaker and sprinkles to decorate your peppermint patties.

When your cookie sheet is filled, stick it in the fridge to help the chocolate solidify.  Then store your patties in an airtight container with parchment paper in between each layer.  Keep them in the fridge (although, if your house is like mine….they won’t last too long!!)

If you know of a better way to get the chocolate to coat them, PLEASE leave me a comment.  These were super easy to make, but I’ll admit the chocolate coating was messy and a bit annoying.  But then I tasted them, and it made it all worth the trouble!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Linkin’ up here this week!

Happy 3rd Birthday Jayna!

Dear Jayna,

It is hard to believe that you are three years old today!  I remember when you were born…you were such an easy baby!  You smiled as soon as you were born, and Oh! Your hair!  What beautiful hair you have always had!

You were so good to us newbie parents, sleeping through the night and eating well!  I had people stop me all the time out in public to compliment you.  You were the friendliest, most beautiful baby they had ever seen! (See? It wasn’t just me who thought so!)

And you have always been such a little ham!  You remind me of Loo Loo when she was little.  You love making faces, being silly and looking at yourself in the mirror!

Jayna, you already have such a kind soul.  You make friends very easily, and have always been good at sharing your toys.  You can be very sensitive though….you sometime will get upset just because someone else is crying!  We still have to monitor what you see on TV very closely, because if a character is upset-you start crying too!  And what a little tattle-tale you can be!  You come home from school with stories of the “bad boys.”  I know exactly who sat in time out, who didn’t share, and who had accidents in school each day!

I am so proud of your short little life already!  You never cease to amaze me with your smart-alec comments that most would only think could come out of a 12 year old’s mouth!  You are so smart, and are so independent….insisting on doing everything yourself.  I can’t believe that not only do you know all of your letters, sounds and numbers…you can also copy almost all of the letters of the alphabet and write your name!  And aren’t you a child of the times…you can work my smartphone better than I can!!  And although we certainly have our “toddler” moments, you are truly a joy to be around (most of the time!).

I love how kind you are to your little sister….you always have her needs in mind and are quick to babysit her or help feed her.  You are so gentle (most of the time) and so affectionate with her!  I hope you two are always best friends and continue to help and love each other unconditionally.

Jayna, your love for God makes my soul so glad….although you may not know what it means completely, your heart is so pure!  I love and admire how you crave knowledge about God and how appreciative you are already for all He has given you!  I’m always so touched when I catch you praying with Elly, or when I see you helping a friend or showing your gratitude.

Long story short, I can’t believe you are already three years old….and I can’t believe you are only three years old!  It has been such fun watching you grow so far, and I can’t wait to continue watching you turn into a kind, smart, beautiful little girl!  Happy Birthday Buggy!  I love you!

Love, Mommy

Christmas Wrap Up

Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday weekend.  Our celebrations continue this weekend as we ring in the new year at not one, not two, but three New Year’s Eve Parties!

But first, I wanted to check in with you and tell you a little about our Christmas.  The weekend began on Thursday afternoon, when Mom Mom and GP arrived from up north.  After Amelia’s 4 month check-up, we met them in town and had a quick lunch before heading back to the house for naps.  On Friday, Dave and GP did a little fishing on our pond, while us girls started on the baking.  First up, Christmas cookies!

Obviously, Jayna did the majority of spoon licking and decorating.  Eat at your own risk, Santa!!  Next up was a gingerbread house.  But not only do we not like gingerbread, we also shutter at the thought of conformity! =)  We opted to try a rice krispy treat house instead.  Adorned with mint M&M’s, sixlets and Mike & Ike’s stuck on the roof with melted chocolate, we discovered that rice krispies work just as well!  The only disappointment was that our graham cracker roof just wouldn’t stay pitched… we opted for The Flintstone’s model instead!

After the girls went to bed that night, Loo Loo, Mom Mom and I stayed up late tidying up and finishing last-minute Christmas decor.

That’s right…you see more recycled pumpkins, and the two Christmas trees were handmade by yours truly, but I got the ideas here and here.  Like I’ve said before, I’m not a very creative person, but I’m an excellent copycat!!

Saturday morning, 9am.  Our doorbell rings with our first of many guests for our first annual Christmas Eve Brunch.  Growing up, my family went to a friend’s annual brunch to gather with friends, do crafts, and put in last-minute requests with Santa.  It’s one of my favorite Christmas memories, so we decided to duplicate it and start it as our own tradition this year.  We invited friends and family from our Sunday School class, as well as our neighborhood.  Although we anticipated mixed results being that it was Christmas Eve, we ended up with about 30 people coming for breakfast!  The kids decorated foam gingerbread children and decorated our felt Christmas tree, while the adults mingled around coffee and breakfast casseroles.  Around 10, the doorbell rang yet again, and Santa made a quick appearance for the children.  After he head back to the North Pole, families headed out to spend the days together and participate in their own Christmas traditions.

 Later that night, Sue Sue and Papaw joined us to fry a turkey for dinner and then we went to the early, kid-friendly church service. Our tradition on Christmas Eve is that the girls get to open one gift (from Ralph, our elf), a new pair of pajamas.

This year, Loo Loo must have thought the adults were going to feel left out, because she found us some new pajamas as well!

I won’t mention any names, but some of us were more comfortable in our footie pajamas than others!

Then, we all knocked off early…After all, everyone knows Santa can’t come until everyone is in bed!  The next morning, Jayna was up at the crack of dawn (to be expected), but was more interested in watching Little Einsteins than checking out what Santa had brought.  So we all took our time getting dressed and finally made it downstairs.  Jayna’s first reaction to the bean bag chair she had wanted soooo badly?  “It’s not purple!!”  We’ll be talking about being grateful next week!!  Nevertheless, the unwanted green color didn’t faze her…

And after opening an elephant shaped pillow and blanket (that matched Loo Loo’s), she was all set…no other presents necessary!

Jayna didn’t quite get the “open all of the presents” expectations.  She would open one, take it to her playroom, and we wouldn’t see her for a good ten minutes…..its like she wanted to enjoy just that gift for a little while before opening the next! We had to beg her  to finish opening so we could clean up and get started on fixing supper!

Even the panda slippers she received from Santa got a good ten minutes from Jayna (but she had to take off her footie pajamas in order to fully enjoy the pandas!).

It was a wonderful, laid back day…and the guys made Lowcountry Boil while the ladies drank coffee and nibbled on the ginormous fruit and cheese spread we had put out…not to mention the Overnight Coffee Crumble Cake I made (this recipe is a KEEPER!!!) Yum! Hope you enjoyed my quick synopsis of our weekend festivities….and thank you to our family afar for all of the lovely gifts!  Here’s a little sneak peek of something you will be getting in the next week or so!  Happy New Year!