Tag Archives: Christmas

Sending You a Merry New York Christmas

Posted On January 5, 2017| 1 Reply

To know me is to know that I like love New York City. My babies do too. You can read all about their first trip to the Big Apple here.

Doc and I were fed up with the present portion of Christmas. He was tired of paying for them. I was tired of searching for, ordering, hiding and wrapping them. On a whim we asked the kids if they would rather take a trip or have presents under the tree on Christmas morning. They both quickly answered ‘trip’ and so the planning began.

NYC was an easy decision. The kids have been asking to go back, Doc had never been at Christmastime and for me it was a no-brainer! I booked it for the first weekend in December. Friday to Sunday.

This weekend ensured 4 important things:

THE tree would be up.  Santa would be at Macy’s. The Thanksgiving crowds would be gone. And hopefully it wouldn’t be face-freezing cold.

I will never grow tired of seeing Lady Liberty from the sky.

Hint: If you are flying into LaGuardia, sit on the left side of the plane (left as in when you are seated and looking towards the cockpit) to get incredible views of the city.

I chose the Dumont NYC for our hotel. The location was perfect and I am a big fan of the Affinia Hotels in Manhattan. Located at 150 E. 34th Street, it was just a few blocks from Macy’s Herald Square. The most famous Macy’s in all the land.

Dumont NYC

Funny story….see those coats my blessings are wearing? They were purchased a few hours after we landed in NYC in DECEMBER at the famous Macy’s I mentioned. Why? Because both, not one, but both of them forgot their coats. Yep. Left the house to go to the airport in DECEMBER without a coat. Needless to say it was the running joke of the weekend. Here’s a look at them freezing on our walk to Macy’s….

We may have taken the long way.

Once they were properly clothed for the weather, our first stop was SANTA. Here’s a little tip: Book your time with Mr. C before you arrive.  Starting in November, visit this website. You will get a confirmation like this:

And when you arrive you get to skip the mile long line, go straight to the Express Check-In, find an elf and enter Santaland.


If you like a good deli. Head across the street from Macy’s to Herald Square Market. You can order the sandwich of your dreams.

We spent the rest of Day One milling around the city and checking out the holiday window displays. Gorgeous. Check out this one at Sak’s:

We ate a yummy dinner at Parker & Quinn. It’s on West 39th at 6th.   Make sure you ask for one of the cool booths and order the Fried Chicken Sliders!

No day in NYC is complete with out a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery.

We visited the Grand Central Terminal location so we could eat our dessert in one of our favorite spots!

The kids loved the “little baby trees” for sale on the corner by our hotel.

I loved how they stopped to admire the flowers every time we walked by….

Day Two had an early morning wake up call! We had tickets to the 9am show of the  Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall! We headed to Rockefeller Plaza early and ate breakfast at the Panera by the Today Show. Noah saw himself on TV and got barked at by a security guard!

The real bonus of being up so early??

Getting THE tree all to yourself:

The Rockettes were crazy good. We sat in Orchestra 3 about 30 rows back. I wanted to SEE the dancers and boy did we. Before the show we wandered around Radio City. It’s very cool. Classy, clean and so pretty! And the ladies lounge is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen!

Did I mention that we met an actual Rockette too??

The show started with Santa. He told us to put on our very chic 3D glasses and ‘enjoy the ride’. We boarded his sleigh and he flew through Manhattan decorating it for Christmas. It was wild. Don’t we look cool?

The show was flawless. My favorites were the reindeer dance and the nativity scene with live animals. We will definitely see this show again. Bravo!

We left Radio City on a high and topped it off with another cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. Then we walked. Boy Wonder was insistent on checking out Niketown. Which meant a trip to Trump Tower. Which meant walking a few blocks out of our way because everything is BLOCKED OFF. I led my troops around the back and in we went. Security was tight. But the Secret Service were too kind.

My people are not afraid of heights…therefore we went up and up and up. As far as we could until we were stopped by Secret Service. Taking a peek up even higher, it was cool to be visiting the home of the next POTUS.

No doubt Donald and Melania were up there having tea or a Dr. Pepper or something!

We toured all 5, yes 5 levels of Niketown. Boy Wonder tried on several sweet sneaks, but ultimately decided to spend his money on these:

Next stop: Central Park. By far our favorite spot in the city. Pretzels, treats, giant rocks, street performers, famous landmarks. Central Park has it all. We play. We stroll. We enjoy. And this trip….a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. A bucket-list item for Sunshine and myself.

Friendly Travel Tip: do NOT wait in the extraordinarily long queue for a carriage ride. Instead, enter the Park at Columbus Circle and hail a carriage driver down before he turns the corner back up Central Park West. You can thank me later.

I will never get Doc in one of those row boats after I made him row around the River Thames in London!

Praise the Central Park gods, we even found Alice in Wonderland this time. It’s not as easy as you think. The Park is kinda like a corn maze. You can walk in circles without even noticing. And you’ll swear you are headed in the right direction only to end up back in the same spot. But I was hell bent on finding Alice. And I did.

So pretty, even from the back:

Reaching Alice took us from 59th Street to 75th Street. 16 blocks. We headed a bit deeper into the Upper East Side and ate dinner at  JG Melon a local place with yummy cheeseburgers and cold beer! After dinner we walked down 3rd Avenue to 68th to Vineyard Vines so the kids could get VV NYC shirts. After shopping we needed a bit of sugar. No place better to fill that need than Dylan’s Candy Bar! Luckily it was only a few more blocks past Vineyard Vines. With Lemonheads and Sour Patch Kids in our bellies we trekked back to our hotel for a little down time.

Around 8pm we bundled up and took a cab to Rockefeller Center. We skated at The Rink at Rockefeller for two hours. Long or short hours depends on which family member you ask! We had reservations for the VIP Skate which is pretty swanky.

You skip the line. The line is very, very, very long and it is outside. Brrrr. As VIP Skaters we had a heated hut on the rink with comfy benches, a place to store our shoes and bags and all the hot cocoa and cookies we could devour. Life as a VIPer was good.

My skaters!

Such a great memory!

While skating an adorable couple got engaged. Guy was down on one knee. Girl had no idea. Some stranger taped it. OMG, I just said ‘taped’, I meant videoed! It was sweet. Sunshine was appalled. She informed me that was embarrassing. Lord help her future fiance-to-be! The children could have kept on skating, but Ma and Pa were whipped. We handed in our skates, grabbed one last cookie and bid Rockefeller Center a good night.

Day Three, our last day. Always a sad day. No-one wants to leave. Boy Wonder and Sunshine planned this day. They wanted to ride the Subway.

No benches left? No problem for Boy Wonder!

We took the Subway to Gramercy Park and were greeted with walls filled with Post-It Notes. Subway Therapy. We added our own note to the wall.

It was beautiful in spite of some very ugly comments.

We brunched (I’m certain that is a real word!) at Friend of A Farmer. It was DELICIOUS x 10. So good. So filling. We waddled out of there and none of us complained about walking in the cold!

Of course they chose to visit Times Square. When in Times Square I must do a few things. 1) Purchase a Swatch watch. 2) Find the Naked Cowboy. And 3) Take a few minutes to observe the gobs of people enjoying NYC. Really, I must.

Sunshine, Boy Wonder and I picked out new watches while Doc waited patiently. He doesn’t get the whole “Swatch Thing”. I feel sorry for him. I chose a sparkly silver one. Boy Wonder picked out a red one. And Sunshine won the prize for coolest watch….one with a seal and fish! Priceless.

Next on my list:

What is that lady looking at?

And finally, resting my feet with Boy Wonder and enjoying the commotion around us.

From there we stopped in the biggest and busiest Starbucks, purchased over-priced hot chocolates and headed back to Central Park.

The kids climbed their favorite rocks and tossed a football while Doc and I whispered sweet nothings. We actually probably talked about how cold our bums were from sitting on the freezing rocks, but a girl can dream, right?

That football travels everywhere with us!

Me in my favorite city with my favorite guy.

Yeah, I’m sending you a Merry New York Christmas,
And a prayer for peace on earth within our time.

Live Creatively,

Tags: ,

Goodbye December!

Posted On January 5, 2015| Leave a reply

Another December and Christmas has come and gone. I am always amazed at how quickly this season goes, I wish I could slow it down. Yes, the elves get annoying at times and my patience is tested every time I sit in traffic or have to set foot in the mall. But I actually love the chaos because it reminds me that life is short and chaos is good. So I drive around with my Rudolph nose and antlers attached to my car (you know I’m not kidding); the radio set to the Christmas station 24/7. We watch Elf and Frosty a few dozen times, I bake way too many cookies and wrap enough gifts to circle the globe at least twice. I do it all to keep the magic alive. It really is a season of magic. Surprising someone with a special gift, hearing your kid sing the “12 Days of Christmas” while mixing up the words and the homemade Irish Cream my neighbors supply us with each year…Christmas rocks!

Here is a peek at how Team Mathis spent the month of December….

Christmas Cards: As you know, I love cards. Adore them really. I start thinking about and designing our card in November. Early November if I must be honest. I usually finish it up around Thanksgiving and my goal is to have them in the mail by December 1st. I don’t want to worry about them once December hits. All month I try to be the first one to the mailbox to retrieve any cards that might have been delivered! I leave them in a copper bucket on the coffee table all year long. For real. All. Year. Long. And they get looked through a lot during the year. So please keep us on your list! I used Minted this year and was over the moon happy!

Christmas Cards from Minted.com


Zoo Lights: We live a hop, skip and a jump from the best zoo in the world. The Columbus Zoo! The lights they string up for the holidays are mind-blowing. I swear we keep our membership up to date just to gain access to the Members Only Night for the lights! Santa always shows up and he even brings his beautiful bride….we like to decorate cookies with her.

Columbus Zoo Holiday Lights


Ugly Sweaters: Jeremy and I have hosted a few Ugly Sweater parties of our own, but this year we celebrated a friend’s 40th in our ugly attire. And they had a Photo Booth, SCORE!

Christmas Ugly Sweater Party


Holiday Recital: Noah’s voice lessons paid off as he took the stage for his music school’s recital. He belted out “I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas” while wearing his Grinch shirt. Poor boy had to go first so he wouldn’t be late for his soccer game, but it didn’t phase him. Bravo Noah!



Wreath Creation 101: My friend Nicole talked me into making our own wreaths this year. While at a flea market (she’s a flea lover too) we found these adorable tin ornaments. “Let’s use them to make our own wreaths.”, said Nicole. And so we did. Glueguns, garland, wire cutters and a big mess later our wreaths were done. I am not anticipating anyone beating down my door begging me to make them one, but I will enjoy the fruits of my labor for now!

Christmas Wreath


Gingerbread House: Ok, this is one of my favorite things to do in December. I buy our kit (who really makes their own….who?!) the year before when they are super cheap after Christmas. I store it in one of my Christmas bins and have it ready to go when the spirit move us! I don’t buy extra candy or icing, we use only what comes in the kit. Keep. It. Simple. Every year our house gets prettier and prettier. And I swear the kids eat as much icing as they slap on the house! Sugar belly!

Gingerbread House


Salvation Army Bell: This is our 2nd year for ringing the bell. We ring at our local Kroger and make it our mission to chat with everyone who comes through the door. It helps that we hand out treats when people donate! Ch-ching! It’s a good reminder for the kids that GIVING is better than RECEIVING.

Salvation Army Bell


Cookies: We bake the same cookies every year. The recipe is one I have been using since high school and I swear by it! Butter cut-outs. Not sugar. Butter. And Pillsbury’s Creamy Supreme Frosting.  Noah would spot an impostor frosting immediately. Natalie wears more flour than she uses and I am always left with the clean up. But we have fun. And the cookies provide me with breakfast for a good week at least!


Christmas Cookies

Mischievous Elves: I will be honest, I had to look up how to spell ‘mischievous’! Apparently I have been pronouncing it wrong my entire life! Oops! We adopted our Elf on the Shelf when Noah was three. Natalie was one, so she was clueless that year. Hermey (named after the dentist Elf in Rudolph) was boring at first. He simply moved from place to place. Noah would find him when he woke up and if he didn’t move, well we could explain it away pretty easily. Not so much anymore! Our family now cares for 8 elves. Yes, 8. I am still not sure how that happened exactly. Jeremy will be rolling his eyes about now! I have an entire blog post in the works for these little guys….stay tuned!

Elves    Elves

Teacher gifts: Noah and Natalie’s classroom teachers are wonderful. I wanted to do something special, so I looked to one of my faves: Erin Condren. Using their favorite colors I ordered the ‘classic on-the-go notebooks‘ personalized with their names. They were a hit! I added a pack of the ‘colorful markers‘ because to-do lists are much more fun when written in purple! Here is a picture of mine: LOVE IT!

Erin Condren Notebook


Visiting St. Nick: I am thankful that my kids still believe! We all look forward to visits with the big guy. I love hearing what they ask him.



School Parties: If your children’s school is like mine, then you are given exactly 30 minutes to pull off a party to remember. Complete with games and snacks and maybe a craft! Yikes! And if you have more than one kid you are splitting your time between two classes. This year I was in charge of games for Noah’s class. I made up a Christmas trivia challenge which the kids did really well with. And we played a memory game. 15 holiday items on a tray…..give them a minute to stare and memorize. Cover it up and give them a minute to write down as many as they can remember. Highest score was 12! I was impressed! 4th graders crack me up! For Natalie’s class I provided the plates for snack and snuck in to see the last 10 minutes of her party. I will switch roles for the end of the year party…..gotta keep it even, right?!

Classroom Christmas Party Classroom Christmas Party


Charity Work: I am lucky enough to know some amazing people who started a charity, Families For A Cure several years ago. Their mission is to raise LOTS of money to help find a cure for cancer. I hate cancer, but that is a post for another day. This year our family nominated Noah’s teacher for a brand new Experience Grant. Miss Deck is a cancer warrior and very deserving of the grant. Through the grant she was sent to NYC for a weekend. I am going to blog all about her trip and FFAC very shortly, so please keep reading. It was an honor to be one of the planners of her trip and to be there to present it to her.

Families For a Cure


Annual Kid’s Christmas Party: These gorgeous ladies have been in my life since way before kids! We use to gather every Christmas for an adult party….fancy dinner, drinks, pretty dresses. Then the children invaded! Now every year we get our families together for a little holiday cheer. This year we bowled! Kids loved it and no one’s house was trashed! Good times!



Christmas Eve: This year we mixed it up a bit. Normally we get all gussied up in coordinating outfits and attend church. We sing carols and light candles. It’s a time to focus on Jesus and the true reason for this season. Instead, this year we stayed home and were blessed to have a wonderful meal and visit with Jeremy’s brother and his family. His family includes my 3 year old niece whom my children completely adore and her brand new baby sister. It was our first time meeting Miss V. She is perfection. And being with family we don’t see very often was a good reason for skipping church!

Reindeer Food


Christmas Morning: I know all kids love Christmas morning, but there is a little boy who lives with me who is off-the-hook crazy when it finally arrives. He has been known to wake us up at 4am. This year we had the kids bunk together and promise not to come downstairs until at least 6am. You guessed it….at 6am sharp Noah ran into our room squealing, “Santa came, Santa came!”. It was hard to contain his enthusiasm, but we somehow convinced him to snuggle us for an hour before we let him wake his sister. He shared later that he had awoken every hour since 1:30am and had snuck downstairs at some point to scope out the gifts! One of these years he is bound to catch Santa in the act! Natalie, still half asleep posed for a few pictures before settling in on the couch to slowly open her stocking. I happily report that this was the first year that she managed to open all of her presents in the same day. The girl moves at her own pace! Noah on the other hand, has everything open, out of the boxes and broken in before breakfast is served!

Christmas Morning


December 27th: 12/27 is a holiday in our house. It’s my birthday! If you read my Birthday Blog you already know how I spent my day! 42 is a grand age and I am thankful to my friends and family for  making another December 27th so memorable! This year we took a belated trip to paint some pottery. My family knows me well!

Painting Pottery


Family Photo Shoot: Miss Lori Williams once again preserved my family on film! We had a full Mathis Family shoot. It was cold, the kids were great and as always, Studio Williams delivered with one-of-a-kind pics! She always makes us look so good!

Family Pic, www.studiowilliams.com

Harlem Globetrotters: This was FUN! We went with a few other families, sat where we could spread out and enjoyed the antics of Big Easy, Sweet J and Too Tall! Amazing how they pulled off a win in overtime 😉



New Year’s Eve: Normally we spend NYE with several families. The kids run around like hooligans. The parents attempt to squeeze in a few conversations between breaking up fights and cleaning up spills. It’s glorious and we look forward to it every year. This year we all seemed to be going in different directions and so the get-together did not happen. The kids were bummed (and so were Jeremy and I!). We hit the slopes for a day of skiing instead. It was awesome! We skied, shared candy bars during lunch and sipped hot chocolate afterwards while waiting for Natalie to regain feeling in her fingers! Skiing in Ohio is C.O.L.D. After warm showers, we settled in on the couch and watched the crazy fools in Time’s Square. Natalie passed out on Jeremy’s lap at 10:30 and Noah begged me to put him to bed at 11:00. So for the first time EVER, Jeremy and rang in the new year just the two of us. This girl is not complaining!

Skiing, Mad River

Whew, can’t believe we accomplished all of that in just 31 days! Hope your December was just as grand!

Live Creatively,





Christmas Decor, Part Two

Posted On December 26, 2014| 3 Replies

Yes, I know that today is the day AFTER Christmas, but as promised, here is a look at how I decorate the outside of our house and our favorite room, the Media Room!

The Exterior:

We pay to have the lights hung on the house and it is a check I gladly write. If you remember, I do not do ladders and always suffer a slight panic attack when Jeremy goes above the third rung. So, to save many moments of distress I insist on hiring it out. I feel The Light Before Christmas does a nice job. If a strand malfunctions they hustle out to fix it. They return the first week of January to take them down. Word of advice, get in touch with them in late October and get on their install list. If you book early you get a discount and can enjoy your lights longer!

Christmas Lights


Here is my front porch:

Christmas Sign

And a few closeups:

Grapevine Trees Christmas Planter Wooden ReindeerChristmas Sign

I know you are all dying over the ‘be MERRY’ sign. Isn’t it great?! You too can have one (for next year). The artist behind the creation is Ashley Adams….. contact her through her Facebook page:  Rustic & Chic Boutique. She made a sign for my entry way too….it will get it’s own blog post in a few weeks!

The tiny ice skates are mine from childhood. I told you my mom saved EVERYTHING! Glad she held on to these. They are kept in the same skate bag I used for many years. I also found my blade sharpener and my favorite outfit: bright red with silver ric-rac. Priceless. You see, my brother and I were going to be the next famous sibling figure skaters. We had high hopes, but not enough passion! Good memories!

The black bucket is from a flea market! Seriously, get some fleas put on your calendar! Pronto.

The wooden reindeer is from Baker’s Village in Shawnee Hills. The grapevine trees are from Cedarbrook Nursery, again in Shawnee Hills. And those beautiful wreaths on the front doors were made by your’s truly! Ok, so I purchased the actual wreath at Cedarbrook, but I bedazzled it! I admit it needs some help….anyone want to spice it up for me for next year? Here’s a clear look:

Grapevine Wreath

I also want to replace these ‘swags’ for next year:

Christmas Swag

I want them BIGGER! And maybe have some ornaments attached? Who’s crafty with evergreen?
Christmas Wreath

This wreath was not made by me…..it’s way out of my league. A lovely florist created it for me a few years ago. She has since moved out of state or I would be begging for her help.

The Media Room:

We spend quite a bit of time in our Media Room. It has the comfiest couch, biggest TV and a fridge that is stocked with my favorite refreshments. I bought this tree at Hobby Lobby and I love it. I hope the lights last forever because I never want to be without it. I decorate it with garland made from pages of old books (The Collection), star ornaments (flea market), mercury glass ornaments (TJ Maxx) and this year I added pretty frames (Restoration Hardware). If you look closely you will see that the frames are pictureless. Yep, this elf did not get that task completed this year. Maybe I will before I take the tree down! The pretty star on top was another flea market find! And the metal bucket the tree sits in is from Home Goods.

Christmas Tree

Ornament Frames Mercury Glass Ornament Vintage Star Ornament

Here are a few more decorations from the Media Room….

Wooden Chalkboard

The wreath is made from paper. I purchased it at The Collection in Powell. The chalkboard is a new addition to the room and I love it! You can have one of your own….Michelle at Wright Interiors will hook you up!

Christmas Beer Stein

Stein and candy canes are from a Flea Market (don’t hate!)

Wooden Christmas Subway Art

One of my favorite subway art signs of all times. I found this little gem at The Morgan House in Shawnee Hills.

Christmas Decor

Like my vintage kitchen island that now serves as a super chic table? I bought it a few years ago at one of my favorite Flea Markets. It was missing the two bottom drawers so my handy-dandy Daddy made me some! Noah painted them and I must say he did a bang up job! The “Deck the Halls” sign came from a shop in Idaho. The large silver vase and decorative twigs are from Crate and Barrel. I am drawing a complete blank on the silver trees, but I am guessing The Morgan House. And that cute little glittery deer came from a flea market too.

Mercury Glass Trees Glitter Reindeer

So there you have it…..the rest of my Christmas decor. A day late, but who’s keeping track?!

Live Creatively,




Christmas Decor; It’s Out of Control!

Posted On December 17, 2014| 1 Reply

I should start this post with a photo of the Christmas storage bins that are kept in my garage, but I do not like to call attention to them. I try my hardest to convince my husband that there are only a few. Ha! Thank goodness he is a stacking genius and can make them all fit. Instead, I will begin with my newest purchase, a canvas for my mantle.

Barn Beam Mantle


Christmas Canvas

I fell in love with this over the summer and ordered it while sitting at the pool. Buying Christmas decorations in July should get me on the Nice List, right? You know you want one. Buy it from Lindsay Letters. You will not experience buyer’s remorse, I promise. It is even better in person! And the stockings are from Pottery Barn. They are on sale right now!

The Merry Christmas wooden sign was a flea market find and I am dying as I notice the order of the stockings…..Natalie was angry with me and switched the stockings! Love her!

My Grandma Dortmund was a very talented painter. She would work year round on her precious Santas and present them as gifts to her friends and family. I feel very blessed to have several of her Santas!

Painted Santa Handmade Santa

Each year Noah gets a new Nutcracker and Natalie gets a new Snow Globe. I try to find ones that represent something special from the year. It is usually the theme of their birthday party. Some are expensive, some are dirt cheap, all of them are super cute! I use them to decorate my Harvest Table in the living room. Sidebar on my Harvest Table. It belonged to my grandparents and took up an entire wall in their great room. It was always decked out for Christmas and I knew I always wanted it. It was given to me a few years ago and my husband and I designed our living room walls to accommodate it! Look carefully at the picture below, it’s my Grandpa Dortmund and Santa….behind him you will see the Harvest Table! Try not to be distracted by the enormous drum shades on those brass lamps!

IMG_6190OK, so that sweet picture was taken in 1986 and would be his last Christmas. I could write a book on all of the things in this picture that make me smile…. Flash forward to today, 2014. Here is the Harvest Table in my house:

Wooden Harvest Table

Fits perfectly, right? You can see some of the snow globes and nutcrackers. Here are a few closeups.


The Santa is another Bertie Dortmund original!


I also frame the yearly picture with Santa. I love looking back over the years.

Santa Frame

This is my favorite. Santa is my friend, Andy. He passed away in 2013. He played Santa for our Mom’s Club. Best part about the whole thing, he was Jewish! Major dad points! My kids have noticed that the Santa in this picture is actually Mr. Andy and we all get a kick out of how Noah is checking him out! I miss that man!

I like to decorate with pinecones (hand picked from Idaho!), vintage ornaments (I hunt for them at all the flea markets), jingle bells (always try to find them on sale), old alphabet blocks (flea markets), festive pillows, my family’s old stockings and anything my mom will give me from her stash of decorations.

Apothecary Jars Wooden Candycanes Christmas Pillows Vintage Stocking Vintage Glass Ornaments


My mom saves everything. No. Joke. She gave me this little piece of the past a few years ago. Anyone else remember making these in school? I love that I replicated the braided rug we had on our floor! Classic.

Christmas Plate

Last year I was finally given a few family heirlooms. I guess I was deemed responsible enough once I turned 40…..

Vintage Christmas Decor Vintage Santa

They belonged to my Gram Copeland. They were placed in the same spot every year and I loved them both with all my heart. I thought the Christmas Lady was beautiful and that Santa was waving at me! I am glad to have them be a part of my decor now!

When you enter my house via the front door, you will land right under the mistletoe! Pucker up! The rule is if anyone wants a kiss, they stand under the mistletoe and announce, “I’m under the mistletoe!”. If you can hear this announcement, you must stop what you are doing and join them for a Christmas smooch! Good rule, huh?

Mistletoe Ball

I found this gorgeous mistletoe ball at Cedarbrook Nursery in Shawnee Hills. Hurry!

My Dining Room is not used very often. Although the table makes a great place to pile all the things I don’t know what to do with! But at Christmas I dress her up a bit too.

Christmas Decor

I made those amazing paper snowflakes all by myself! The wooden signs are another flea market find. I wish I could remember where I bought the trees because the are so pretty. And here is a closer look at those precious candlestick holders…..another heirloom from my Ma! And no, I never put candles in them. No idea why.

Vintage Christmas Candlesticks

A few more trees and the room is complete!

Christmas Decor Christmas Decor

The cut out trees are from TJ Maxx and the cone tree is from Hobby Lobby.

Baby Jesus cannot be left out. My Grandma Dortmund painted this nativity for me many years ago. I told you she was crafty!


And after BEGGING my mom for years, she finally gave me this joyful memory. My brothers and I played with this for hours upon hours and now my kids fight over where the angel should sit and why the roof won’t stay put! Ahh, Christmas!

Wooden Nativity

My kitchen window makes me smile. If I have to do the dishes, I may as well do them while looking at Mr. & Mrs. Claus kissin’ and a couple ‘blasts from Christmas past’!

Kissing Santa & Mrs. Claus DSC_8947

Yep, that’s me and my brother, Lee decorating the tree in my bedroom (love the curtains!) and my hubby and his brother sitting on Santa’s lap! Good times!

I found this little nugget at a flea market and stole my friend’s idea to use it as my utensil bucket for the season. Genius! I love having smart friends! The candy canes came from the same flea market……ready to join me next summer?!

Candy Cane Bucket

My mom loves to knit. Yay for me! I found this idea for an ‘advent calendar’ in a magazine a few years ago. They are mittens and hats with the date. You hide a little treat inside for each day. The kids love it! There is not a lot of room, so the treats are small, which keeps it simple. The best part is that she (my mom) sends the treats each year and all I have to do is stuff it! Double yay me! I have commissioned her to make a second one so Noah and Natalie can each have one when they leave me. I am hoping that is like 20-30 years from now at least! Contact me if you are interested in ordering one for your family. She can use any color scheme!

Crochet Advent Calendar

I cannot believe I am going to share this next photo with you…..circa mid 80’s. Christmas morning with my brothers.


Looks like it was the year of the ORIGINAL Transformers for Matthew and the fingerless gloves for me! Please take a moment to notice my yellow fuzzy socks. If you read my Thankful post you will recall that these are still a staple in my winter wardrobe! And how cute is my brother, Lee snuggling that teddy bear! The reason for this gorgeous glimpse into my Christmas past is for the advent calendar hanging behind the tree. It was hand-sewn by my Grandma Dortmund. Each ornament was adorned with sequins and you placed a new one on each day. I know several kids from the 80’s had these. Well, my brothers and I fought over who was going to get it once we all moved out. My mom, being the peace keeper that she is, simply made new ones. Noah and Natalie each have their own and keep them in their room. It is the first thing they do when they wake up. Too sweet. But, I kind of wish they had to share like I did. We would secretly rearrange the ornaments in the pockets so when it was ‘our’ day we would get the best ones! Good times!

Ok, I am off to decorate our lower level….I will blog about that room next!

Live Creatively,




O’ Tannenbaum!

Posted On December 11, 2014| Leave a reply

Christmas TreeI really am German, so I can call it a tannenbaum!  Isn’t she pretty? She stands 9 feet tall and has served us well over the past three years. She spends most of her life in a nice green bag in the corner of the garage and we miss her during that time. She is the first Christmas festiveness to come out of hiding and the last to be put away. Jeremy has the job of wheeling her in (she came with her own rolling cart!), setting her up and fluffing her branches. He also climbs the ladder to put the bow in her hair. I don’t do ladders!

Our tree is a time capsule. It tells a story. Our story. Not a single ornament is random. Each one has meaning to us. Each year I am tempted to make her pretty. Cascading ribbons, glass ornaments……. I am secretly jealous of my friends who have trees like that. But then I start opening the bins of decorations and before I know it our pretty girl is adorned with mismatched ornaments, no ribbon and the same raffia bow Jeremy and I bought when we couldn’t afford a ‘nice’ tree topper! The tree skirt is from Pottery Barn. And the pinecones were gathered by my folks in Idaho!

My Grandma Dortmund gave me an ornament every year. Most of them were handmade. They all hold a special place in my heart. The last ornament she gave me was in 1998. Here is one of my faves:

Angel OrnamentShe’s adorable, right? My Grandma was crafty. So crafty that her white Ford Taurus sported a bumper sticker that read, “Crafty Lady”. One of a kind!

My folks, well, let’s be honest, my mom has also given me an ornament every year. It’s always fun to see what she will choose. Sometimes she makes them, others are store-bought. They all are given with lots of thought. My ornament from last year was my daddy’s dog tag tied with ribbon. I had a photo, but his SSN was visible, so I took it down! My mom put the tag on a key ring and laced red, white and blue ribbon onto the ring as well. A perfect way to remember his service and decorate my tree!

I buy an ornament from every place I visit. It is a challenge sometimes, but fun. Check these out:

Painted Egg Orament

Hand painted egg from Budapest. Honeymoon.

Travel Ornaments

The Broadmoor Bee, Colorado Springs and The Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh.

Route 66 Ornament

Spring Break, 2014.

Vienna Ornament

Hand crafted love birds from Vienna. Honeymoon.

Last year I found the keys to my old house. My family lived there from 1977-2004. I was heartbroken when my folks moved and tried to keep as many ‘memories’ as possible. I made ornaments from the keys and gave one to each brother and my folks.

House Key Ornament

I found these little beauties at a flea market this summer. Don’t they look cute?

Vintage Letter Ornament Address Number Ornament

Anything can be an ornament. Even a graduation tassel!

Grad Tassel OrnamentEvery year since Noah was born I have created an ornament for the grandparents and uncles. Some years they are handmade. This year Shutterfly helped me out. They have a sweet metal photo ornament. Make one of your own here. Mine are in the mail! Here is our ornament from 2007 when Natalie made her debut:

Snowflake Picture Ornament

My favorite ornaments are the Memory Balls representing people I love who no longer walk this earth. My Aunt Janet gave me my first one in 1996 after my cousin Brady was killed. My Aunt took all of the ribbons from the flowers at his funeral, cut them into scraps and placed them in a glass ball ornament. She added some gold confetti, ribbon and a dove. Every Christmas as I unwrap it I smile through tears. Brady was 24. He was a great cousin and an even better friend. Here is his ornament….

Memory Ball OrnamentHere are a few more Memory Balls….

Memory Ball Ornament

Grandma Martha Mathis

Memory Ball Ornament

Grandma Bertie Dortmund

Memory Ball Ornament

Grandpap Lee Copeland

My Grandpap’s is not filled with ribbons from his funeral. Maybe my mom forgot to save them! Instead she filled the ball with sawdust, a fishing lure, nails, a basketball jersey sticker and his business card. I love it. It’s his own little life story!

My creative Ma surprised me with a special Memory Ball back in 2004. It represents my wedding day. She used pieces of ribbon from our gifts and cut up the invitations to our save-the-date, showers and ceremony. It’s beautiful!

Wedding Memory Ball Ornament

Following in the footsteps of my Grandma and Mom, I give my kids an ornament each year. I try to make it something meaningful from the year. This Christmas they are getting swimming ornaments to represent their first year on Swim Team. Fun!

Personalized OrnamentsIf you are local, I bought these at Baker’s Village. They have gobs of different ones and will personalize while you wait!

And, staying true to my German heritage, my tannenbaum would not be complete without a pickle. I hide the pickle ornament in our tree on Christmas Eve. First one to find it gets a special gift. Growing up, I was the master at finding the pickle on our tree. Pretty sure my brothers are still bitter! Not so sure that this really originated in Germany. Most likely we Americans started it. Either way, it is fun! Here is our pickle:

Glass Pickle Ornament

So there’s a little peak at my tree. It’s busy, colorful, eclectic. It’s a one of a kind and I love it. What makes your tree special? I’d love to see pictures!

Live Creatively,