be merry and bright

The holidays are in full swing around here, and hopefully you are finding time to enjoy time with your loved ones too, amid the chaos and busy times that come with it.  Since my last post, I have been relishing in the little moments that make me so grateful and love every minute of motherhood, despite how difficult it can be at times.  Here a few highlights I wanted to share with you…

We sent out nearly one hundred Christmas cards this year, at the eleventh hour…which I had to design and print at home just to get them out on time!  Needless to say, there are still a few we didn’t manage to get out and I felt a little bad about this, so I wanted to share the card online so EVERYONE can see it…

Duartes-Christmas-Card-2014

We celebrated our girls’ fifth birthday just four days before Christmas, which also makes for a very busy week!  The girls were so happy to be in the company of lots of new friends, and all the kids were over the moon with excitement when they broke the piñata and experienced an awesome sugar rush!

IMG_4188

IMG_4276

IMG_4235

The last highlight I’d like to share — but definitely not the least important, by far — is what seems like the closest we’ll get to a family Christmas photo for this year.  It was a bit of an impromptu moment actually…we finally arranged a date night and we asked the babysitter to snap a quick photo of us before we went out, but of course, all the kids wanted in!  I love this photo because it captures the raw truth of our everyday life — girls excited to see us leave, and Lucas sad to see us go — it was a bittersweet goodbye, but a much-deserved mini break from parenting, even if ever so brief.

IMG_4019Well, I leave you with a heartfelt thank you and appreciation for keeping up with me and my little family.  Life keeps us all busy but it’s so nice to be able to share these sweetest moments in the hopes that it will brighten your day, and give you a moment to reflect on the little joys in your own life.

Wishing you all a happy new year and all the best for 2015!

Until next time…stay sweet!

xoxo

Haydee 

ps  Those of you who read my last post will appreciate this comment…the Advent cards I made last year finally turned up, just days after I created new ones for this year!!

{a freebie for you} advent cards for your sweetest ones…

Ok, I’ll admit, I’m a little late to the party this year.  Last year, I created a set of hand written advent cards with little messages and treats for my little ones, and I swear I saved them so I wouldn’t have to do it all over again…BUT we took out all the decorations for Christmas this weekend when we put our tree up, and they were NOWHERE to be found…

IMG_0539 IMG_0525 IMG_0529

Well, we did find Pepito, thankfully – our very own ‘elf on the shelf’, so I asked my husband to create a handwritten note for the kids on the first of December to kick off our advent tradition again, but it’s only the third day and we’ve already fallen behind.

I know it’s late, but hopefully my kids won’t notice.  I created these simple advent cards, using a place card template I use for weddings, which can be customized as needed for each day in advent.  It simply states the number of each day, with a short message “It’s time for…” which can be completed on the inside of the small tent card.  I simply didn’t have the energy right now to come up with 25 advent tokens, and thought it was best if I left it open to fill out as the month unfolds and so I could reuse them again in the future!

I’ve got some ideas I definitely want to reuse from last year, and hopefully you can draw inspiration from these too…

  • It’s time for a holiday sing-along party!
  • It’s time for ice cream sundaes
  • It’s time for a family movie night
  • It’s time for a fun Christmas craft activity
  • It’s time for you to find your new Christmas PJs
  • It’s time for us to bake holiday cookies

Well, if you are like me, and don’t mind being a bit behind with some traditions, I hope you enjoy the free printable –  Advent Cards (click the link to download the PDF).

Oh, yeah, and while I was at it, I also designed our family’s holiday cards, since (again) I fell behind on ordering these online this year and really didn’t think I could get these out on time unless I did them myself.  I hope to print these out soon, so I can get them out to those of you on my NICE list this year…stay tuned, as I’ll be happy to share the photo online once they’ve been mailed.

Until next time, Stay Sweet!

xoxo

Haydee

{countdown to christmas} make your own advent calendar

IMG_3542[1]

Our First DIY Advent Calendar

I was so inspired by beautiful holiday ideas I’ve been collecting on my Pinterest Holiday Board that I decided to create our own Advent Calendar.  I figured using small boxes for each day would be the easiest idea, and I could always reuse the boxes if I wasn’t happy with it.  I ordered small favor boxes from Paper Source and had enough ribbon lying around my craft area to use to tie numbered tages onto each one.  I coordinated the ribbons and boxes, and designed my own tags to use to match the same color theme.

All in all, it was a great idea, but one that took way to long to execute.  Here’s the rundown, for those of you interested in making one of your own:

Supplies needed:

  • Twenty-five boxes
  • Number gift tags 1 – 25
  • Hole puncher
  • Lots of ribbon
  • Twine or ribbon
  • Candy and goodies to fill boxes with

The whole project took about four hours, among three of us!  {Thanks Mom and Vic!}  We had to build the boxes, fill the boxes, cut out the number tags, measure and cut ribbon, and then figure out which tag and ribbon went on each box before filling them, so that the finished design would have enough variety. IMG_3535[1] Putting the boxes up on the wall was a challenge in itself, and the only thing we could think of was to use tape to reinforce it.  We all knew it wouldn’t stay up for long, but our options were limited since we have three little ones running around all day.  I rushed to photograph it all before it collapsed, and while we were in bed for the night, I heard random boxes falling onto the sideboard. Well, even though it fell apart, the girls LOVED the concept!  We had them open two boxes in the morning and they were super excited to get presents and find chocolate in their boxes.  We need to find another way to store the boxes now, but it’s nice to know that in the end it is all worth it.  We’re going to try stringing them on our tree as ornaments next.  Wish me luck! {happy holidays} xo ~the sweetest mami~ ps Get your free printable number tags here: Numbered Tags for Advent