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Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Review: The Crafts & The Turducken

With one of my daughters newly married, it was a great opportunity to make a few crafts for her home. Following the directions I found on Shanty2Chic, I created a photo art sign that spells out their last name: Hallsted...
This is 4 1/2 feet long and is meant to stand up on its own. I also made her a Home sign- if you missed the tutorial on that one you can see it here. In return, my girls did another surprise photo shoot and then created a pvc frame-LOVE this. However, right when they gave it to me, the bottom row broke- so Mr. Right will get it all figured out and fixed. Here's a closer look at the photos...In each individual shot, they're holding a letter. When put together it spells out "FAMILY" and then there are 2 group shots. This one was a tear jerker- nothing better than a handmade gift with pictures of my gorgeous family. The crafting bug didn't stop there. Two of my daughters also made personal journals for their friends and sisters- Here's one of the favorites...Those girls of mine are creative I'll tell ya. Speaking of creative- have you ever heard of a Turducken? It's a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. We were the recipients of one Turducken this year- cajon style (meaning it was stuffed with rice and crawfish and shrimp) Let's take a peek at this bad boy...The big reveal...swimming in grease it was- I guess that comes from the Duck. Here he is all carved up...And a closer look at those 3 layers...The Turducken may be why people become vegetarians. Luckily, we served prime rib as our main dish, because this guy tasted about as awful as he looked. There was one person in the family that didn't complain...
Give that girl a turkey leg and she's happy! Well, that's it. All the highlights from our Christmas. Did you make any presents this year- or have ever tried Turducken? Leave us a comment and let us know. Love, Kelly.

PS: We'll be starting the Trashy weekend give-away on Tuesday- check back for all the details and have an amazing New Year.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Review: Mr. Right Got it Right!

Mr. Right grew up celebrating Christmas very differently than I did. I'll never forget our first year together we headed to his parents and I was shocked as his mom brought out gifts for his brother and sister, who were just 9 and 12 at the time, in black garbage bags- UNWRAPPED! Now granted, my family went completely over-board for each Christmas- but I had no idea there could be such a difference in the way families celebrated. With that history in mind, I'd be fibbing if I didn't say I've had a few disappointing Christmas' from Mr. Right. Generally he'll ask me a few weeks before, "What do you want for Christmas" To avoid the past disappointments I'd say- "let's not worry about getting gifts for each other this year" which would be followed by a year where I literally got no presents from him. Then we moved on to choosing a present we both wanted- last year it was a new bed. After ordering the bed, but before delivery, we actually cancelled the order because we read bad reviews about the company (it's a closeout company) online. So what did I get last year- NOTHING. Don't get me wrong- there have been years where Mr. Right made me cry because his gifts were so thoughtful. There was the year my sweet 3 year old looked at me and said, "Jesus is in the attic" I gave her a puzzled look. "Not the real Jesus" she explained, "The glass Jesus" I quickly realized the Lladro Christus statue I'd admired must have been purchased for Christmas and hidden in the attic. Or the year he purchased an old trunk for me and hid a gift in each little compartment. This year, when asked, "What would you like for Christmas" I told him a new table top. We have a 60" square black table with an MDF top that has seen better days. I love the table, but wanted a real wood top- that wouldn't bubble up each time our kids spilled a little water. Mr. Right worked on the table each night and remarkably placed it next to the tree on Christmas Eve. Not a surprise gift, but a handmade one that we will use everyday. Here's the picture I took on Christmas Eve...
(I'll tell more about the sign sitting on it tomorrow) Isn't it amazing- smooth as a babies bottom and ready for paint. I know some of you are cringing- thinking, "Don't do it. Just stain it." We've already looked at pictures of stained tops with black bottoms and it's really not my style- so I'll be painting it soon (I'll show the after shots next week) With my solid oak topped table under the tree I went to bed so grateful for a hard working, handy husband. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to this...
My new table was covered with surprises. I'm not sure if you know that I collect wind up toys- but I do. I display them in jars and they look like bright pieces of candy. Mr. Right had secretly won a lot of wind-up toys at an auction he attended (without me). It's difficult to see in the picture, but he spelled out MOM with them. Next to the toys I found this...
No, it's not a bowl of dead flowers. They're hydrangea plants (my favorite flower) in their dormant stage. I'm not sure if we can get these to live through our Arizona summers- but this spring we should have some beautiful flowers. And finally- a gift I have been looking to find at a garage sale...
A cuisinart food processor! Let's just say it was a very merry Christmas at our house. So what did you get for Christmas. Leave me a comment- can't wait to hear. Love, Kelly.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Loving Rachel

I have the most beautiful sister named Rachel.
Her she is with my beautiful brother, Tadd.
She lives in Utah, but is spending Christmas vacation here in Mesa.
You may remember Rachel from a blog post I wrote last year about the ugly jeans.  
I found the ugliest pair of 1980’s high-waist, pleated, tapered-leg Guess jeans at the thrift store for $1.00.  I purchased them as joke to see if they would sell on eBay for $9.99.
Much against her will, I convinced Rachel to be my super model.  Even on her hot bod, they still looked like the ugliest pair of jeans ever.
But, they did sell on eBay for $9.99 to some lucky girl and I thought that was pretty hilarious.
Anyway, it was so wonderful to have Rachel over Christmas morning.
She spent her time with my kids, playing and having fun.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-DaySaints, Rachel has decided to serve a mission.  She is called to the Argentina, Nuequen mission.
This Christmas has been very special, spending time with her knowing February 1, 2012, she’ll be gone for 18 months.  Many times through out her visit, I’ve had to hold back the tears, especially when I saw her so lovingly playing with Eden and Reef.
Yesterday, we went hiking in the Phoenix Mountains.  Leave it to Aunt Rachel, to be the first one up the the mountain with 8 nieces and nephews following her.  
What an adventure they had.
I don't think any of us will forget this day with Rachel.
I hope my kids continue to follow in Rachel's footsteps.  I am so proud of her.
One of our family traditions is for birthdays or special occasions, we have that person sit in a chair and we all go around, sharing favorite stories and/or advice for that beloved family member.
Later that night, after dinner, Rachel was honored to sit in the chair (purchased for $4.99 at my favorite thrift store) while each one of us expressed our love to her.
(Notice how Eden put her little chair right by Rachel.)
We all miss her already and she's still here.  How is that possible?

I'm so grateful for her commitment to Jesus Christ and her desire to love and serve the people of Argentina.  

Christmas Review: The Gifts

After our Christmas Eve celebrations, all were asleep as we filled the tree with surprises...The stockings were filled...
And ready for the morning chaos to begin...Typical stocking stuffers in our home include necessary items like: underware, socks, gum, razors, toothbrushes, Ferrero Rocher (something we consider necessary), DVD's, make-up, hair products and small toys for the little ones. With cinnamon rolls baking in the oven, we move on to the gifts. Years ago each child would receive 20-25 gifts each- I thought that was how everyone celebrated Christmas- until one year when a group of my students helped load all of my wrapped gifts from my storage closet into my truck (before I retired from teaching I would store all of the girls gifts at school) The students were shocked at the number of gifts there were and asked how many children I had (it was 5 at the time) "Well how many gifts do they each get," one asked "some where between 20-25?" Now mind you some of these gifts were small items that I would pick up at yard sales. I asked my students how many gifts they received and the answers varied from 3 to 10 (and I taught at a very affluent school) That year I noticed how overwhelmed my kids were- presents were every where and by the end of the year more than half of those gifts were in our next garage sale. I decided our next Christmas we would scale down to 15 gifts per child. Each year I've noticed that it's still too much- the real meaning of Christmas was being lost- so we tried 10, then 8, then, 7, then, 5- each year still feeling like there was too much stuff. Last year, while discussing this dilemma with a group of friends- each sharing how many gifts they purchase for their kids- one said- "We buy 3 per person, because that's how many gifts the Savior received, and who should get more gifts than the Savior?" This made so much sense to me, so this year we gave it a try. 3 gifts. 3 quality gifts- items that wouldn't be found in our next garage sale- items our children would take care of and use. I have to say this was the perfect number for our family. It made me really think about what would be the best gifts- quality not quantity. Here's a little peek at some of the favorites...A beach cruiser bike for the 8 year old
A ukelele for the 13 year old.A cell phone for the 14 (this is the minimum age for a cell phone in our home- and they have to be able to afford to pay the monthly bill)A keyboard for the 19 (she has missed playing piano while away at college- this she can play in her dorm room- with headphones of course) And for our first married couple?Twelve dates for 2012: A separate envelope for each month. Each with a gift card or cash and the idea for the date. Some include: Gift card to Gymboree for a shopping trip for our first grandchild due in April, outback steakhouse, walmart (to buy their favorite treats and have a pig out night) Joe's bar-b-que (amanda's favorite restaurant), frozen yogurt, jamba juice, bahama bucks, etc. They absolutely loved their gift- a tradition has been born. So, how did craigslist save the day? Our little 2 year old wanted a "Horsey" for Christmas- "Not a real horsey, " she would explain, "a one that goes high" We were relieved it wasn't a real "horsey" but shocked to find out those little spring loaded ones sell for $200. I turned to craigslist and found several for $125- some faded and worn - still around $100. When I found one I thought was Okay I would call and find it had already sold. For 6 weeks I became a craigslist rocking horse stalker. Finally- just a week before Christmas at 9:00pm on a Saturday night- a new posting. A NEW in box liberty rocking horse with sound-$100- the only problem- it was 45 minutes away, it was late Saturday night and we don't shop on Sunday and it was raining. I quickly sent an email (no phone number was listed) asking if the owner would take $90 (the 10 was to pay for the gas) and if I could come right NOW! Surprisingly, the owner immediately called, accepted my offer and gave the address. The only problem? They had opened the box and put the horse together in case anyone was worried parts were missing- not a problem for me. We arrived back home after 11:00pm with the perfect gift...

I think she likes it.So worth the trouble! The last gift to be unwrapped on Christmas morning was our family gift. Each year we try to find something everyone will like- last year a Wi- previous years included: a trampoline, swing set, etc. This year it was a little black suitcase set hidden at the back of the tree... When the first suitcase was opened it revealed...
an envelop with "Pack your Bags" written on a paper inside.

After a bit of a struggle over who would open the next suitcase (see girls do wrestle) They discovered another envelope

"We're going to..." and finally after the last suitcase was opened...
The itinerary for our 5 day cruise to Cabo San Lucas. This spring our entire family (minus our eldest who is expecting) will travel to Cabo! So excited. And this my friends was a complete Christmas paid for with trash. Between estate sales, ebay, craigslist and our space at Qcumberz- we raised the money for Christmas. I'd love to hear about your christmas- leave us a comment or link up to a post. I'll be sharing what Mr. Right did for me tomorrow. Love, Kelly.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Few of my Favorite Things for Christmas

In so many ways, I’ve been feeling the love for my parents.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and they’re getting older.  I appreciate them so much.  I cherish every minute together.  I know how blessed I am.
So, for Christmas this year, I wanted to express my love to my parents through a gift of great trash.
This dresser was purchased for $75.00 at the thrift store . . . and I knew it would be perfect for my parent’s foyer.
Christmas Eve at my parent’s with a Mexican pot luck and my family that I hold so dear. 
After dinner, my brother Sam and I moved the dresser into the foyer.
My parent's reaction . . my favorite part of the entire process.  My mom cried.
I loved my dad's reaction when I told him the paint I used for the dresser was discounted opps! paint (paint that is on clearance because the customer isn't happy with how the color turned out).
I think his exact words were "That's my girl!"  
I found a dresser for my sister Becky too.
Remember her  baby shower a few months ago, how I painted this dresser for her yet-to-be-born daughter Emma?
Well, would you believe a few weeks ago I found the exact dresser in a nightstand at the same thrift store?
I knew it would be the perfect dresser for both these princesses.
I still had the paint at home, so it was easy to get it ready.
What about the counselor?  Did I get him a dresser too?
No, I had another idea.  It's been over a year since I printed off any photos.  I sent a huge order of enlargements to Costco, then went shopping for the frames at Goodwill.  What a great selection, most frames are $2.99.
Chandler helped me clean up the frames
 and spray paint them silver.  
We spent most of Christmas Eve day putting our photo enlargements into the frames. Spending this time with Chandler was precious.   
I was especially excited to turn this broken clock into a frame.
Christmas Eve night, the counselor went to bed at 1:00am and I stayed up until 2:00am putting these pictures around the living room among the kids gifts.  Do you see the clock turned frame hiding by the slide?
(Little Tike Slide $7.99 from Goodwill)
(Giraffe tent $7.99 from Goodwill)
(Basketball bookshelf $5.00 from garage sale, bike $40.00 off craigslist)
(Butterfly swing, swapped)
(P.J's $1.00 each from Goodwill)
(Pogo stick $7.99 from Goodwill, guitar $5.00 at a garage sale)
(Beautiful sleeping dog, priceless )
(Madame Alexandra doll $10.00 at a garage sale, little chair she's sitting in $6.98 at Mesa Thrift)
Hope your day was trashy, merry and bright & thanks for the Christmas gift of 1,000 followers.