Into the New Year

In the last couples years the end of December snuck up on us.  It would jump out from behind the corner, and with no plans in our pockets, we’d come into the new year with no bang… just a little sparkling cider.

This year Tap wanted to be sure to have some sort of outing… He was ready for any excuse to get up and get out and do something a little different.  When we looked back at the many ways we did and did not celebrate new years, one of our favorites was going to a theatre for a back to back feature.  We saw The Tourist and Rapunzel in the same night, loving both movies in two very different ways.  So we decided to take our party to the theatre again.  This year we went to see Into the Woods, which features Johnny Depp and Rapunzel, how ironic.

My husband and I are pretty savvy to the hustle and bustle of New Years; So we ate at home to avoid waiting in a cold breezeway for an hour at a restaraunt, and we offered to arrive at the movies an hour before the show to save seats for our friends.  Once at the theatre we were put in a que for our show.  We were all set!  Our favorite theatre happens to have $5.50 tickets on Wednesday nights, despite the holiday!  We got our favorite seats, perfectly eye level to the screen smack-dab in the center.  We even had a coupon for our concessions, leaving my husband happy with his buttery finger-licking salty popcorn.

After the movies we stood in the lobby and discussed our favorite parts (which was unanimously “Agony”), laughed, and went home for a romantic kiss at midnight.  We gave a toast along with the only tradition we’ve ever held, sparkling grape juice.

How To: PineCone Elves


What You Need:

  • Hot Glue Gun & Sticks
  • Pinecones
  • Small Jingle Bells
  • Felt
  • Sewing Needle
  • Finetip Sharpie Marker Pen
  • 3/4 inch Round Wooden Bead
  • Clear Monofilament String or Fishing Wire
  • Scissors

Everything You Need


  1. Cut hat and scarves from felt
  2. Wrap hat around bead head
  3. Mark where felt overlaps, hot glue together
  4. Glue hat onto bead
  5. Glue jingle bell to the tip of the hat
  6. Glue bead to pinecone body
  7. Glue Scarf to back, & criss cross the scarf & glue again
  8. Draw face on bead
  9. Sew Clear thread through top of hat, tie knot
  10. Hang, and enjoy


Sparkle Box Progress Report

This year we started a new tradition- to fill a Sparkle Box full of presents to Christ for His birthday (you can read about it here).  On Saturday, we sat down and read a few scraps of paper of the things we did for “the least of these” this month.  It was great to focus on Christ, and know that not all the presents were for ourselves.  However, my hope is that this one tradition grows each year.  For our first year, I’ll admit, we weren’t perfect.  We often forgot about our goal to give a gift to Christ.  We ran out of time or money to do some things that we would have loved to do, and should have done.  Part of me feels bad, because I know that these are cheap excuses that our awesome God doesn’t deserve.  I am humbled by His perfection, His patience, and His unyielding love and time for all.

What gives me hope is that we don’t have to give back to God just in December… This was just a beginning to a wonderful tradition, full of worthy intentions.  And, just like my mom starts shopping for Christmas on December 26th and goes until the following December 25th, I think we will try to fill our Sparkle Box in the same way.

If you need ideas to fill your sparkle box, I found this great blog called The Shine Project.  Check out her entry on 51 Holiday Service Projects and get started with your Sparkle Box now.

How have you done with your Sparkle box? Do you have any great ideas and ways to fill it?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Can you believe it? It’s Thanksgiving already! I survived the drive (because my husband let me sleep), and was able to wake up to the smell of my mom’s kitchen, the sound of family laughter mixed with the Thanksgiving parade, and the warm feeling of being home for the Holiday.

I can’t wait to eat up on a few traditional favorites: Mom’s homemade noodles and marshmallow fruit salad.  I am excited to see my family, especially the Aunts and Uncles that I normally don’t.  Then tonight my mother-in-law is making bacon-wrapped dates just for me!

However, most of all, I look forward to standing in the circle of all my loved ones.  Staring into the faces of my family as they take their turn sharing their favorite blessings this year.  Wrapped up with a prayer of thanksgiving to the Gift-Giver Himself.  I am so thankful to have a family that credits God for everything, and who chose to demonstrate it throughout their lives- even during the bustle of a holiday.

As you know, to prepare my heart for Thanks, I have been counting down the days with a thankful thought.  I’ll be honest, I stopped posting them on twitter around number 18… But I have plenty to be Thankful for… more than 27 things, but here’s my list.

  1.  Sitting on the couch, nestled between my parents.
  2.  Christmas decorations- The warm glow of a snowy evergreen.
  3.  Ghirardelli Turtle Brownies… especially the corners.
  4.  Waking up to my husband’s handsome face every morning.
  5.  My husband’s unpredictable morning hair.
  6.  An evening with absolutely no commitments.
  7.  Heaters to keep me warm.
  8.  A day full of small favorites.
  9.  My husband knowing how to use a toolbox. He fixed my jewelry cabinet!
  10.  Communion at Church, and open honest discussion in Sunday School.
  11.  Dinner with friends.
  12.  When my husband jams with his buddies, making rockin’ songs to the Lord.
  13.  Meeting someone new.
  14.  Cuddling up to my husband and enjoying some cookies.
  15.  Watching a good, wholesome, T.V. show with my husband to unwind.
  16.  Saturdays, our All-Day Date day.
  17.  When my husband gets to play drums at Church.
  18.  Church parties, like the Battle of the Ages.
  19.  Beautiful Snow-Covered Trees.
  20.  Safe travels.
  21.  Surprising my husband.
  22.  Laughing at the Ellen Show.
  23.  Being a part of something bigger than myself.
  24.  Being my husband’s teammate, and co-teaching a Sunday School class.
  25.  God talking to me through someone or something else.
  26.  The ability to travel with ease.
  27.  Catching my little nephew under the mistletoe.

What are you thankful for this year? Do you have any traditions that keep the reason for the season at the heart of your celebrations?