Christmas 2015 and New Year's 2016

Wow, what a great holiday season we've had!  I took so many pictures that it took me awhile to sort through them all.  This Christmas was spent at home this year and if you follow my blog you will remember where we were last Christmas.....

We were glad of the smiles and the laughs as we three opened our gifts from each other.  We always set a dollar amount to less than $50, but this year we lifted the amount to make it more fun.

We didn't get a chance to have a family photo for the year taken, but our last minute Christmas cards were a big hit anyway.  

We went with Minted this year and for every single tweak I made to the cards, Minted was right there to fix, walk me through, and change up every little detail.  I am so pleased with the way they turned out and everyone loved them, even without a family photo.  I've decided next year we will get an early start.

If you haven't had the time to send out holiday cards for Christmas, you will have time to do some for New Year's.  You can send holiday cards all through January before it's too late.  Check them out and see what they can do for you.

Our tree star stayed crooked the entire season, but instead of straightening it, we left it that way to give the tree more character.  It was perfect!

The strung cranberries looked great against the green of the tree.  I think next year we will string cranberries and popcorn and try to go with a more natural look for our real tree.

The cranberries are now hanging on a tree for the birds to enjoy.  A few blue jays and some starlings have already peaked at them and enjoyed the berries.

We strung fresh cranberries for a tree decor this year and had a blast with it.  We've decided to place the cranberry strings outside now for the birds to enjoy. 

We strung them on regular yarn in white.  The cranberries, as they were being strung, stained the white yarn to a pretty pink color.  I am wondering what they would do to an Easter egg now.  We shall find out in the spring.  
Our Christmas cards were placed on a homemade star this year.  It's made our of yard sticks.  I will show how to make a similar version on the blog soon.  

Skylar-Braden made little trees from washi tape and lined the wall with them opposite the Christmas tree.  

This ornament is one of the last things I received from my grandmother.  The red ball gets packed away each year with special care.  The gold bird was the first of my bird collection for my tree.  The two of these ornaments got front showing on the tree this year.  It was a very special thing to see on Christmas morning.

My bird collection grows each year.  While others are changing their tree decor each year, including a Memory Tree, I tend to keep the main tree in our house to just birds.  I have a "sort of" collection growing.  Each bird is purchased from Macy's when we go see Santa each year.  This year I chose a blue and white peacock to add to the tree.

See the birds from years before here (2014) (2013) (2012).

Our Christmas tree this year was a great one.  I think they just get better and better each year.  I love the way our house smells right now and I can't seem to part with her yet.  After the first of the year we normally take it down, but I think we might linger a bit until January 12.  Did you know that 25-30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. every year?  That it takes seven years to grow a Christmas tree, and that Christmas wasn't declared an official holiday in the U.S. until June 26, 1870. (source)

Christmas night was all set up for Santa Claus.  Skylar-Braden was pretty excited about the gifts he got this year and "Santa" even took the time to write his initials out in LEGOs.

Baz spent most of the Christmas day laying in front of the fireplace.  He seems to have commandeered that spot now.  And this year we made Baz, PITA(Hardy), and little Meia some paw print ornaments.

The paw print ornament above is of our 15-year-old Persian. Siamese kitty, Meia.  You can make these too with just some white polymer clay and your oven.  Just roll out the clay, smash into a disk, and press their paw into the clay.  Lots of treats may be needed for them to hold still enough to get a good impression.  It took us three attempts with Meia, and twice with PITA.  Baz didn't care as long as he was being loved on.  Bake them in the oven at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes.

We decorated the house this year too.  We have been slowly adding something to the decor each year and this year Skylar-Braden was able to help out more and have fun with it.  He and the Mr. had a good time putting lights in random places and it was nice for me to hear them laughing and enjoying it, while I was in the house staying warm.  

Loving my Christmas wreath and Father Christmas.  Father Christmas was found at a local antique store here and the wreath was purchased at the Trantham Tree Farm.  The sleds and candy canes were added by me.

Isn't he amazing?  Such a wonderful addition to our Christmas decor each year.  I am so pleased I found him.

And I can't help but mention the cutest door gift from our sweet neighbors.  

These wonderful Christmas treats come from the neighbors down the street that always spend time with Skylar-Braden.  Jim, the Mr., and Skylar-Braden all share an interest in HO Scale Trains.  They attend train shows together a lot and have such a great time with it. We just love that they are great neighbors and thought of us at Christmas time. 

Meanwhile, we baked and iced sugar cookies on Christmas Eve and we enjoyed them well into Christmas morning.


We opened gifts from Arkansas on December 28.  I love when gifts come from home.


We spent the New Year's Day eating black-eyed peas and writing down our resolutions for the 2016 year.  We are resolution-writing people and we always write our resolutions on tiny pieces of paper and insert them into clear/clear colored bulbs.  We have been doing this since 2013 and it's always a great way to remind us of our resolutions and stay on long-term ones. And as Lady Carnarvon said, "I don’t think I want to start New Year weighed down by more rules but think instead what I could do better. Enthusiasm, ideas, reflection and action. And I am, like many others here in the UK, looking forward to Spring and no rain!"  Of course, we aren't in the UK, but here in Oregon, we are looking forward to a Spring with no rain too! 

Unfortunately, we didn't make it to midnight this year.  Skylar-Braden went to bed at 10:00 p.m. and the Mr. and I followed at 11:00 p.m.  We did get woken up at midnight by the sound of fireworks and people banging pots and pans here in the city.  They lasted about an hour and we just laid in bed listening to the fanfare.  We weren't too upset by the noise though because New Years only happens once a year.  

The last few days have been a crazy mix of snow flurries and ice here in the Willamette Valley.  Here we got a bit of a mix.

..........But in Portland, it was a different story.

It was a slick mess for them. (Photo source)

The town we live in has a tree lighting ceremony, but there's always so many people and we tend to get a perfect view of the tree being lit from our own backyard.  After the ceremony died down we took a walk down to the park, where the tree is, and shot some nice pictures of the town's Christmas tree.

The fire department is the one that brings out their ladder truck and strings the Christmas lights each year.  It's always fun to see them perched on the huge white ladder getting things ready for the holidays.

The star on top of the tree is always so bright.  We can see it from the upstairs of our townhouse and it shines through the fog during this time of year.

I received a new camera for Christmas from the Mr.  I really enjoy the black and white setting a lot.  It gives the photos an entirely different view.

Christmas night I received a neat message from Skylar-Braden.  He is a huge Star Wars fan and wrote out:  "Love you Lots" in Star Wars lettering.
Hope your Christmas and New Year was great!

Check out this wonderful video of the animals enjoying the snowfall at the Oregon Zoo.

Snowy scenes from earlier today, starring Mikhail and the harbor seals.
Posted by Oregon Zoo on Sunday, January 3, 2016

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