The White Envelope Story

I thought that I would kick off the Christmas season again this year with my most favorite Christmas story and tradition!  We have been doing this tradition in our home for several years now and I always look forward to it more than anything else that we do!  But even if you do not do this tradition in your home…it is a great story to start of your holiday season and get you in the true meaning of Christmas!

We have a tradition in our home that we started a few years ago.  My children are all grown and married, and every year we would go through this little ritual– They would say, “Mom, what do you and dad want for Christmas?”  and I would reply “that we really did not need anything,” and I could never come up with any ideas for them.

We usually all get together for Sunday dinner, and four years ago at one of these family nights, I read the following story to my family.  It reminds me so much of my own husband, because he does not like the commercialism of Christmas just like the man in the story and all of our kids had to agree, and thus was born the tradition of the “White Envelope”.  It is truly the highlight of Christmas for my husband and I.  We wake up on Christmas morning and we read the letters from each of our children and their family and I must admit, that it usually brings tears to our eyes!  What a beautiful way to start our Christmas Day!

This is my “White Envelope”, I made it out of fabric and it goes on the Christmas tree.  You could use any white envelope, but I decorated it up and we use it year after year.  All of the grand kids know exactly what it is and they get caught up in the spirit also!

Here is the story that I read to my family:

“For the Man Who Hated Christmas”

by Nancy W. Gavin

 It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree.  No name, no identification, no inscription.  It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas–oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it—overspending…the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth.  I reached for something special just for Mike.  The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.  These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.  As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.  Well, we ended up walloping them.  We took every weight class.  And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said.  “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”  Mike loved kids- all kids – and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.  That’s when the idea for his present came.  That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.  On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me.  His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in the succeeding years.  For each Christmas, I followed the tradition—one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas.  It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents but the envelope never lost its allure.  The story doesn’t end there.

You see we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer.  When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up.  But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.  The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope.

 Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

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I have a binder that I keep all of the letters in…it is so fun to re-read the letters every year and remember all of the kind acts of service performed by those we love!

I hope that we can all keep the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts and that we will not get caught up in all of the commercialization of the holidays…take a moment and reflect on what is truly important to you and let it carry you through this holiday season!

Thanks for visiting today!

Christmas Scrapbook/journal

Christmas Scrapbook/Journal

Last weekend I stopped at a scrapbook store and I picked up a fun class kit that they had for a Christmas Scrapbook/journal.  It was the last one they had, so I took it!  I brought it home and that afternoon I started putting it together…and by the end of the evening I had it almost completely put together!  I was so excited that it went together so quickly and it had everything that I needed plus quite a bit more…all included in the kit!Christmas Journal/scrapbookThis is a daily Christmas scrapbook/journal.  There are pages for every day from December 1st to the 25th!  I love this idea and I am going to do a journal of what goes on every day in December.  I hope this will represents a typical month of December in our household!  

This kit is from Snap scrapbooks and everything including the binder was included!  There are extra stickers and embellishments that I can add as I go through the month!

Here is a link for those of you that would like to make your own scrapbook/journal:

Simple Stories – December Daily – SNAP Binder Class KitChristmas scrapbook/journalHere are some of the pages from my book.  I love that you use the 4 x 6 and the 3 x 5 journaling cards for pages, pockets, photo backgrounds and journaling cards!  This first page is one of the 4 x 6 journaling cards!  Just embellish and punch the holes in it!Christmas scrapbook/journalThis layout shows one of the chipboard dividers and the page on the left hand side was made into a pocket on the backside of that page!  I love all the extra places that you can add pictures as well as your journaling!Christmas scrapbook/journalThis 2 page spread has the pocket sheet divider page on the right that you can add pictures and/or journaling plus you can add what you would like beneath the “no peeking” flap on the left!Christmas scrapbook/journalThis is one of the pocket pages that is made from simply gluing 3 sides of a 4 x 6 journaling card! The tags in the pocket are 3 x 5 cards with stickers on the tops for the tabs.Christmas Scrapbook/journalExtra pages are added throughout this book and the embellishments are on the main page and also on the front of the sheet protectors where the picture will go behind it!Christmas Scrapbook/journalOn this layout there is a fold-over page where you can hide your journaling or extra pictures.  There are flag flaps that you lift up to peek underneath!Christmas Scrapbook/journalOn this layout there is a cascading group to add pictures to or some fun journaling or thoughts!Christmas Scrapbook/journalAnother fun pocket page!Christmas Scrapbook/journalThis last page has a flap inside a pocket!  I just love all the different ideas and interactive pages that this book has and the fact that it was so easy to put together! As a former scrapbook store owner,  I have seen a lot of kits and I have to admit that this one is a great kit and it is very well put together!  :)

So are you ready to put a Christmas scrapbook/journal together and record all of your fun traditions, the decorations, the baking that you do, your service that you give, the food that you prepare and the good times and…even the not so good times, for your posterity to view!  I think that this will be a super fun book to look at in the future years.  We will wonder why we did the things that we do, but it will be fun to see all the changes that will occur!

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for visiting!

Santa Baby

Thursday’s Thought-Santa Baby

I decided that it is time to start with the Christmas ideas…so here is your first printable for Christmas for this year!

Santa Baby

 I love this song…because sometimes this is just how a girl feels!

This is a fun printable that you can frame… to put on your kitchen cupboard, your fireplace mantle, your desk, or your coffee table or it would be a great gift for someone else! 

Here is the download:  Santa Baby

If you want to save this as a jpg image, right click over the image and go to “save image as” and then save in a folder.  This is formatted to an 8 x 10 size if you want to send it to your favorite  photo processing center.

I also thought you might enjoy this YouTube video!: 

I hope this gets you all in the Christmas Spirit!  :)

Thanks for Visiting!

Christmas Sour Cream Containers

Today I have the new Christmas Sour Cream containers in the shop!Christmas Sour Cream containersI had so much fun with the Thanksgiving ones…that I knew I needed to make some Christmas ones too!  :)

They  make a darling take home gift at a party, they are great for room mothers, or fun for a church activity!  Simply fill with some sweet treats or little trinkets for the perfect thank you gift… or take home treat! Christmas Sour Cream Containers

These are so simple to make…you simply print, cut out, glue and fill!   Even the kids can help make these! There are 4 colors with 8 different designs, so you can make enough for your whole group!Christmas Sour Cream Containers

Wouldn’t these look darling on your Christmas table?  :)  You could fill them up like a nut cup with mints, nuts, or of course chocolate!

Christmas Sour Cream Containers

It is time to start thinking about all of our Christmas parties and get togethers.  These would make darling, easy, little gifts for those that you visit teach, neighbors or a fun little gift tag that has a treat included!

Happy Holiday Planning!

The images for these sour cream containers come from Just So Scrappy.

 The “Santa Baby” line.

Thanks for visiting today!  Have a happy Tuesday and keep up the reading on the 40 day conference challenge!  :)

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“ites” Book Review

First of all I just want to ask how everyone is doing with their 40 day reading challenge?  It started yesterday, but you can always start today and catch up with the rest of us!  :)  I love this challenge and hope that everyone will enjoy it as much as I do.

Today I have a fun gift idea for those of you that are Mormons and have a small family or for those of you that are grandparents to small children.

It is this “ites” book:

 I found out about this book through a friend who happened to have a prototype of the book.  She was telling me all about it and then I had to wait for several weeks for it to come out…but I think that it was worth the wait!

Here is the description from the listing on Amazon:

“Meet the ites! From Aaron to Zoram, get to know the prominent people in the Book of Mormon. Whether known for fearless faith or dastardly deeds, each teaches a lesson that will help your family make good decisions and follow the Lord.

Packed with fun facts, insightful lessons, and unique activities, this exciting book will help each member of your family better understand just who’s who in the Book of Mormon. Delightful illustrations bring each man and woman to life in vivid color.  

The book contains 52 separate entries, each with its own lesson and activity, so it makes the perfect resource for planning your weekly family night or for quiet Sunday reading and learning. Become acquainted with the ites, and find out just how much their experiences can help us in our lives today!”

Here is the link where you can find this great book : ‘ites” book

On every two-page spread there is a story about one of the “ites” there are facts, there is a scripture, there is a question to ponder and then there is an activity that reinforces the lessons being taught for that person!  

But, I think that the thing I love the best is the illustrations!  They are great in helping your little ones to learn about all of the characters in the Book of Mormon!   I think that it would be fun to hang a picture of the particular “ite” that you are studying for the week on your fridge, back door,  mirror, or where ever your family would see it, for a fun reminder of what they learned at FHE that week!

This would make a great Christmas gift to give to someone you love, so if you have not done all of your Christmas shopping yet, perhaps this could be added to your list!  (I guess that it really is that time of year, UGH!)

Have a great Monday everyone and thanks for visiting!

Give Thanks Pillows

Give Thanks Pillows

I have one last project for Thanksgiving before moving on to Christmas.  But, this project is one of those “oops” projects!  Last weekend my husband and I went to our cabin for a few days, my husband went hunting on our family property while I worked on projects at the cabin.  I got a lot of things accomplished and I was feeling pretty good about myself, until I got home and discovered a mistake in the pillows that I had made!Give Thanks Pillows (more…)

Easy to sew Fall Table Runner

Super Easy to Sew Table Runner

Do you need a last minute table runner for your Thanksgiving dinner, or perhaps you would like to make one for Christmas…or any occasion for that matter.  Well, here is a tutorial on how to make a “Super Easy Table Runner!”  This project is wonderful for a beginning seamstress or great for someone that is advanced!Super Easy to Sew Table Runner

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Thanksgiving Sour Cream Containers

I have a fun new product in the store today…it is these darling Thanksgiving sour cream containers!  I love the fun shape of these containers and thought that they would be perfect for your Thanksgiving table!Thanksgiving Sour Cream Containers (more…)

conference reading challenge

40 Day Conference Reading Challenge-Oct. 2014

We are doing a 40 Conference Reading Challenge in our Relief Society for church.  I volunteered  to make the bookmarks for this reading challenge and wanted to share it with you… for those of you that would like to do this also!  You read one conference talk per day for 40 days in a row!

conference reading challenge (more…)